Fire near Park Rapids 65 percent contained

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Wildland fire crews, aided by lighter winds, have a handle on a fire that burned more than 7,000 acres near Park Rapids, Minn.

The blaze dubbed the Green Valley Fire was 65 percent contained by Thursday night, up from just 25 percent early in the morning, but it burned more than 11 square miles in northwestern Minnesota and destroyed 55 structures, including 12 residences the Star Tribune reported. Bradley Snyder, a Menahga resident, stood looking at a pile of ash that had been his home.

“My wedding pictures are in there, all my childhood pictures, [my wife's] pictures, all my daughter’s pictures, all the precious gifts you get over the years — they’re all gone,” Snyder told WCCO.

A "hotshot" crew based in Boise, Idaho, helped crews get the upper hand, Valley News Live reported.

About 170 people who had been ordered out of their homes had returned Thursday, the Star Tribune reported.

All roads were open, according to the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center. The center in its fire update notes that Friday plans call for a small helicopter will search for remaining hotspots, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, forecasted rain is expected to reduce prime fire conditions across the state.

In Wisconsin, officials confirmed that the largest wildfire in the state since 1980 was sparked by logging equipment Tuesday afternoon, the Duluth News Tribune reported. A DNR investigation determined that there had been no negligence, and workers had made an effort to put the fire out, and called 911.

The fire, which burned in Douglas and Bayfield counties south of Duluth, torched 8,100 acres over an 8-mile stretch, destroyed 17 cabins and homes and 30 other structures, the News Tribune reported.

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