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Karlstad evacuated as 2,000 acres burn in northwest Minnesota

Posted by: Bill McAuliffe Updated: October 2, 2012 - 11:54 AM

The Minnesota Inter Agency Fire Center said Tuesday afternoon that the city of Karlstad is being evacuated, prompted by the flames coming to within a mile of town.

The evacuation is being led by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents were ordered to leave their homes Tuesday afternoon because a fire known as the Highway 27 fire had moved to within a mile of the city limits. That fire had covered 500 acres Tuesday morning. Two outbuildings were destroyed.

Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jean Goad saidat midafternoon Tuesday there were “multiple starts of new fires in northwest Minnesota” through the day. At Hallock, a temperature of 73 degrees was accompanied by an extremely dry relative humidity of 19 percent and winds gusting to 43 miles per hour.
 
Two National Guard helicopters might join the fight against a spreading northern Minnesota wildfire, though winds that are driving the wildfire might keep them on the ground. 
 
The fire, in a mixture of woods, peat and grasslands north of Red Lake, covered about 2,250 acres Tuesday afternoon, about twice the size it was Sunday, and only about 10 percent contained, according to fire officials. 
 
The area, which includes parts of Beltrami and Lake of the Woods Counties,  is equivalent to just more than 2 square miles. It’s one of eight active fires across northwest Minnesota,  said Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jean Bergerson . 
 
Canadian planes and crews helped out on fires over the weekend, Bergerson said. 
 
Like much of Minnesota, the northwest region has been extremely dry in recent weeks. Fires have been spaked by ATV exhaust, mowing equipment and even exploding recreational shooting targets, fire officials said.
 
Fires that burn into peat could burn all winter, Bergerson added. 


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