Dayton orders National Guard to help fight Minnesota fires
October 2, 2012 — 3:08pm
Gov. Mark Dayton issued an order Tuesday directing the Minnesota National Guard to provide equipment and soldiers to help fight wildfires in central and northwestern Minnesota.
Dayton's order says as of Monday, the state's Interagency Fire Center was fighting eight different fires in the northwest, and fire rating is high in west central and south central Minnesota. He said state agencies do not have "adequate aviation resources for widespread wildfire suppression."
The National Guard said in response to Dayton's order, it sent two Blackhawk helicopters with crew and support teams to assist in the firefighting. A total of 13 soldiers are supporting the efforts, the Guard said.
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During an MPR interview in front a live audience, Dayton reiterated his support for middle class tax cuts, a big boost in transportation funding and universal prekindergarten during next year's legislative session, all priorities he was unable to achieve in the 2015 session.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto, reeling from a new law allowing counties to hire private audit firms to review their finances, said in a statement she has hired outside counsel "to help me assess the implications of this law and its impact on the core function of auditing."