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Cost of battling Boundary Waters wildfire tops $12M

Fire officials tell the Associated Press the funding for personnel, supplies, lodging, fuel and equipment comes from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior.
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Officials say the cost of the battling the Boundary Waters wildfire has now topped $12 million. Fire officials tell the Associated Press the funding for personnel, supplies, lodging, fuel and equipment comes from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior.

WDIO reports firefighters are preparing for strong winds today, with gusts up to 45 miles per hour. Windy conditions during the fire's early stages ended up igniting it across 100,000 acres.

Fire officials say they are continuing to search for hot spots that could potentially flare up. More than 60 percent of the fire is now contained.

The U.S. Forest Service tells MPR News that firefighters hope to have the historic wildfire fully contained by Saturday, but warns that a lot depends on the weather.

That initial delay to fight the fire is now being questioned by five state lawmakers from the Iron Range. Northland's Newscenter reports the legislators are calling on the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Attorney General to sue the U.S. Forest Service for mismanaging the wildfire. They believe the federal government should pay for their initial decision to leave the fire alone and let it burn. They say millions of dollars was pulled from the state's school trust fund in order to fight the blaze.

Firefighters will soon shift their focus to rehabilitating the land hurt by the firefighting effort. A spokeswoman tells MPR the crews will work to rebuild land where they dug up dirt or laid down hose.

Here's an impressive view of the fire from up close:

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