Crews fighting a wildfire that's burned about 1,000 acres in St. Louis County's Skibo township since Friday made more progress in containing the blaze Monday.
More than 140 personnel, multiple crews, two bulldozers, 13 engines, multiple tracked vehicles and Chinook and Type-1 helicopters are fighting the flames that stretch over eight miles, the Minnesota Incident Command System said in an update.
People at a few permanent residences and at least six seasonal cabins in the area east of Hoyt Lakes have voluntarily evacuated, MPR reported.
MNICS says good progress was made Monday – the fire is 21 percent contained, up from 12 percent the previous day.
And crews reported seeing less smoke around the perimeter last night, which could mean that the suppression efforts are working.
But with dry weather and winds still gusting up to 30 mph, fire conditions are dangerous in most of the Iron Range and the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for parts of Northeast Minnesota.
Fire crews and safety personnel remain on alert for new flares, MNICS said.
They are also warning people to use caution while driving on roads near the fire, because firefighters are frequently entering and leaving the roadway. Road closures include: County Roads 565 and 569 and Forest Roads 120, 420, 795, and part of 113.
The cause of fire is still under investigation – it may have been started by sparks from a passing train on the railroad tracks, the Duluth News Tribune says.
Air quality was "unhealthy" this weekend
But according to the Current Air Quality Index from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, most of the state was in "good" condition by Monday evening.
Needed rain that should also help efforts to fight the wildfire is coming to northern Minnesota beginning Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.