Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday deployed the Minnesota National Guard to help firefighters combat a 500-acre wildfire in Beltrami County.
The executive order came just 24 hours after the blaze outgrew a Department of Natural Resources prescribed burn to manage brushlands in northwestern Minnesota. So far, the fire is contained to the Beltrami Island State Forest and does not threaten any structures or private land, authorities said.
The National Guard will assist the DNR by providing two water-dropping helicopters. Specialized UH60 hoppers can hold up to 660 gallons of water, while Chinook helicopters are capable of dumping 2,000 gallons in a single load.
“The women and men of the Minnesota National Guard are trained and ready to take on this important mission,” said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the guard’s adjutant general. “We will do all we can to successfully support this firefighting effort.”
Northwestern Minnesota’s fire danger is classified as “very high,” and is expected to remain so for the next several days.