Firefighters continue to work on NW Minn. wildfire

  • Associated Press
  • May 16, 2013 - 10:44 AM

MENAHGA, Minn. - Lighter winds Thursday were expected to help firefighters contain and snuff out the remaining hotspots from a wildfire that burned 7,100 acres in northwestern Minnesota.

The Green Valley Fire destroyed 12 residences, two commercial properties and 41 other structures near Menahga. It remained 25 percent contained as of Thursday morning but was not growing, incident management team spokesman Jeff Edmonds said. Easterly winds forecast at only 5 mph should keep the fire in check, he said.

The highly-trained Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew was on the ground Thursday, he said.

Altogether, about 160 people were fighting the fire Thursday, including crews for six helicopters and three water-dropping planes.

The blaze started on private land during hot, windy weather Tuesday afternoon, about two miles northwest of Menahga, and burned a path about eight miles long and 1.5 miles wide through the rural area. Crews built a bulldozer line around most of the fire perimeter Wednesday while helicopters from the Minnesota National Guard and planes from other agencies dropped water on hotspots from the air. Firefighters from more than 40 departments across the region helped on the ground.

The cause remained under investigation. No injuries had been reported.

Thursday's forecast called for clear skies with a high around 73. Authorities expect the fire danger to remain high through the weekend, but firefighters should catch another break starting early Friday when the weather is forecast to turn rainy through the early part of next week.

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