Wildfires spread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, forcing evacuations

  • Updated: May 14, 2013 - 11:11 PM

Just as snow and ice finally receded, wildfires driven by low humidity and high winds hit parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, forcing some residents to evacuate their homes.

Gov. Mark Dayton called out the National Guard on Tuesday to help firefighters who spent the past two days battling at least 25 wildfires, including an uncontrolled fire that has consumed more than 4,000 acres near Red Lake. State, federal and local agencies fought the fires on the ground and from the air with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region opened two shelters for residents evacuated from homes in Wadena and Hubbard counties. A fire near Menahga, south of Park Rapids, reached 6 miles long and burned some structures, according to the Minnesota Incident Command System.

A fire northeast of Camp Ripley also threatened structures.

A fast-moving wildfire in northwestern Wisconsin grew to 5½ square miles and forced some evacuations in sparsely populated southern Douglas County. Residents near Loon, Sand and Murray lakes were being evacuated.

Mary Lynn Smith

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