Firefighters from 10 departments battle wildfires from the ground and the air

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A Saturday wildfire just 10 miles north of downtown Duluth led to the evacuations of several homes as fire crews from 10 departments worked to protect homes in the area.

The Duluth News Tribune quoted authorities who said the Rice Township blaze may have been sparked by a burn barrel that got out of control in the windy conditions. The fire destroyed some out buildings that were in the path of the wind-whipped flames. Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles.

The Northland's News Center said the flames burned a total of 5 acres. Helicopters dropped water in an effort to assist firefighters and tanker trucks in containing the blaze. Another Saturday fire that broke out near Hibbing also required firefighting aircraft.

“It’s so hot and dry out right now, it’s jumping,” St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Todd Abernethy told the newspaper.

In the Bemidji area, the risk for fire remains high. The Bemidji Pioneer notes that as of Friday, the Bemidji Fire Department had responded to 12 wildfire incidents, caused by persistent dry conditions in the area. Open burning restrictions remain in the Bemidji area.

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