Minnesota crews heading west to battle wildfires

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While most of Minnesota gets a soaking rain, some of the state's firefighters are headed west, where the need for their services is great.

Northland's NewsCenter reports a group that's leaving Grand Rapids to battle blazes in Montana will be the eighth Minnesota crew deployed elsewhere this season. 279 Minnesotans are currently fighting wildfires in the west, the station says, and the Department of Natural Resources reports the total for the summer is 400.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared a fire emergency in the state this week.

Northland's NewsCenter reports the crew that's leaving Minnesota says it's headed toward Missoula, Montana, but is not sure just where they'll eventually be sent.

The Associated Press reported that 86 wildfires were burning in the northern Rocky Mountains and there is not enough personnel and equipment available to fight all of them.

Northern California, where there are also dozens of fires burning, has been another destination for crews from around the country this summer.

KSFY of Sioux Falls reported this month on the death of a Forest Service firefighter from South Dakota who was killed while battling one of the California blazes.

Earlier this summer Minnesota sent a crew to Canada, where wildfires generated smoke that drifted southeast, creating a haze and poor air quality over Minnesota.

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