MENTOR, Minn. -- The Oxcart Fire west of Mentor, Minn. did not grow on Tuesday, March 30, according to a Minnesota Interagency Fire Center spokesperson. The grass fire is now estimated to be about 12,900 acres and is roughly 40% contained.
The fire's eastern edge remains about 1.5 miles from Mentor city limits, although there is not believed to be a danger to the town at this time, said spokesperson Hanna McBrearty.
Fire crews were aided by cooler temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday, March 31, but the remainder of the week is expected to be warmer and drier, possibly exacerbating fire conditions, McBrearty said.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Thursday, April 1, in northwest Minnesota, signifying critical fire danger brought on by strong winds and low humidity. The Red Flag Warning expires at 10 p.m. Thursday.
On Wednesday, fire crews focused their energy on containing the fire's perimeter and extinguishing hot spots, McBrearty said.
If there is any "silver lining" to the fire, McBrearty said, it's that the majority of it is on the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, a grassland preserve where burning had already been scheduled.
"It's a fire-adapted ecosystem, so fire on this landscape is actually beneficial for the plants and animals that live there," she said. "So, they've been doing a lot of pre-habitat work like spraying and mowing in anticipation of applying prescribed fire to those areas, so having it be hit with a strong fire like it was on Monday will do some good things for the habitat."