Ely escapes wildfire disaster

Fire crews and a wind switch combined to beat back a raging forest 216-acre fire Thursday that burned to the edge of popular tourist town Ely. Some nervous residents were briefly evacuated, but no injuries were reported and officials say no occupied homes were lost.
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Fire crews and a wind switch combined to beat back a raging forest fire Thursday afternoon that burned to the edge of popular tourist town Ely, the Duluth News-Tribune reported.

City officials evacuated the southeastern portion of the city until about 6 p.m., when they allowed residents to return home after a close call for the city of 3,480 residents. No injuries were reported and officials say no occupied homes were lost.

MPR said several small fires quickly grew into the 216-acre blaze. The Highway 1 Fire started when a power line snapped, officials have said.

WDIO has video of helicopters dropping water on the blaze and spotter planes monitoring it.

The Star Tribune slideshow has a few dramatic images that show how close the fire was to town.

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Ely wildfire 100 percent contained

Fire officials have declared a 175-acre wildfire that threatened the popular northeastern Minnesota tourist town of Ely to be completely contained. The containment effort got help from about 1.5 inches of rain that fell this weekend.

Wildfire near Ely 60 percent contained

The wildfire sparked by a downed power line near Ely is 60 percent contained. Officials say emergency preparedness and a quick response was the key to the fire's containment. The blaze was reported at 1:40 p.m. Thursday, about 10 minutes after it started, and the first engine arrived three minutes later.

Fire scarred lush forested entry to Ely

Visitors to the popular tourist town of Ely will notice it does not look the same. Lush green forest was devastated in a blaze this week just south of the Boundary Waters gateway, and will take years to recover. The last mile of Highway 1 just south of town will lose much of the distinctive forest that has lined the road. The fire sparked Thursday was well under control late Friday.

Downed power line sparks forest fire just outside Ely

Homes were evacuated on the southern edge of Ely, while crews are battled a 20-acre fire. Several fire departments were on the scene, using water-bombing planes and helicopters as well as ground crews. A downed power line apparently sparked the fire.

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Wildlife officials shot and killed a collared yearling black bear Thursday after it went into an Ely-area garage. There were children in the area, according to reports. The bear had been collared in July by Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely, but it wasn’t one of the well-known bears tracked by Rogers and other researchers or followed by the public on Internet webcams.

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Overnight rain helped firefighters in Ely make significant progress toward extinguishing a wildfire that earlier had threatened the city. The Duluth News Tribune also said authorities opened Minnesota Highway 1 Sunday morning for the first time since the blaze began Thursday afternoon.