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Crews continue to battle massive wildfires in Minn., Wis.


Fire officials were hopeful that lighter winds on Thursday would aid firefighters scrambling to contain a 7,100-acre wildfire in northwestern Minnesota, not far from Park Rapids. The blaze was about 25 percent contained Thursday morning, Incident Management Team spokesman Jeff Edmonds told the Associated Press.

The Green Valley fire has torched about a dozen homes and 43 other structures. One man lost his sawmill, WDAY reported.

The blaze is believed to have started on private land during windy weather Tuesday afternoon near Menahga, Minn., roughly 170 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, state fire officials said. A highly-trained hotshot crew was expected to attack the blaze Thursday. One homeowner tells WDAY a harrowing tale of racing home after hearing news that flames had reached her property, and she arrived in time to watch fire gut her house.

The Minnesota Incident Command System has more info about the fire, as well as photos. Firefighters described the scene as "dark and intense," the Brainerd Dispatch reported.

Local fire crews also have been busy in northeastern Minnesota, where much smaller fires were being reported, the Duluth News reported.

In Wisconsin, southeast of Duluth, perhaps the worst wildfire the state has seen in 33 years was 95 percent contained as of Wednesday night. That fire in Wisconsin's Douglas and Bayfield counties burned more than 9,000 acres, KARE 11 reports.

Authorities confirmed Thursday that logging equipment sparked the blaze, according to the Associated Press.

KARE 11 has video from the Wisconsin fire:

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