NIMROD, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard joined the fight Monday against a wildfire that has burned more than 1,400 acres of woods and brush near Nimrod in north-central Minnesota.
The Guard said it sent two Blackhawk helicopters and 12 soldiers from St. Paul and St. Cloud to help control the fire. Capt. Marc Rassler said in a statement that troops underwent water bucket refresher training last week at Camp Ripley. The Blackhawks carry buckets with 660-gallon capacities.
Commanders said the wildfire was 80 percent contained Monday. Property losses have been limited to an attached garage on a residence, and one mobile home used as a hunting shack that was destroyed. No injuries were reported. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.
Monday's strategy called for holding the fire within the bulldozed firebreaks and mopping up along the perimeter.
"The firefighters are making some progress," Ron Sanow, a spokesman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, told WCCO Radio ( http://cbsloc.al/HFefhn). "It's a cool day but windy. The fire is kicking up in a few places but they are holding their own."
While several homes were evacuated as a precaution after the fire started Sunday south of Nimrod, the evacuation orders were later lifted.
Even with burning restrictions in place statewide, fires keep popping up around the state and officials have braced themselves for a difficult spring.
"The only thing that's allowed right now are recreational fires, and I'm surely asking folks to restrain from those unless they are absolutely necessary," Sanow said. "It's just not worth the risk."