Firefighters have at least temporarily battled to a "draw" with a fast-moving fire that has already killed two people and destroyed 379 homes, giving weary authorities and residents the first glimmer of hope after three days of mounting damage, a sheriff said.
Hearing about the quick-moving blaze that burned half of the buildings in Bucyrus on Wednesday brought back memories for Grant County Emergency Manager Joann Ozbun of another fire that ran through Shields a decade ago.
Eleven homes, including 7 mobile homes, as well as 2 garages and 22 other outbuildings in and around Karlstad were destroyed by the fire which swelled from 500 acres to more than 4,400 acres Tuesday afternoon, fueled by 40-mph winds.
Firefighters were battling a series of wildfires Monday that covered about 2,000 acres in northwest Minnesota and southern Manitoba. As many as 150 firefighters were working Sunday and Monday to fight a total of seven fires that were burning out of control in the drought-stressed region.
A fire continues to slowly grow in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness northwest of Ely. A spokeswoman for the Superior National Forest said Tuesday the fire is now estimated to have burned across about 40 acres. That's up from an estimated 30 acres Monday.
Authorities lifted evacuation orders for some northwest Nebraska residents whose homes had been threatened by wildfires, but crews on Monday were still battling three blazes that had blackened nearly 290 square miles in Nebraska and neighboring South Dakota.
The U.S. Forest Service has at least temporarily suspended a policy of letting fires burn in the national forest system, in hopes of saving resources spent on fighting infernos that start small but quickly grow out of control.
Crews this afternoon are battling a fast-moving forest fire just outside Ely that apparently started when a vehicle drove over a downed power line. Eyewitnesses in Ely said flames could be seen from the city and smoke was enveloping the town. Parts of Ely south of White Street and east of 12th Avenue East have been ordered to evacuate by Ely Mayor Roger Skraba. Power is out to part of town, including part of Ely.
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