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Fires continue to burn in northwestern Minnesota

Several fires continue to burn in northwestern Minnesota, and with little precipitation in the forecast, the danger will remain high, officials say. According to Jean Bergerson of the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, the Departm...

Several fires continue to burn in northwestern Minnesota, and with little precipitation in the forecast, the danger will remain high, officials say.

According to Jean Bergerson of the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, the Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday reported seven new fires had burned 1,137 acres in the past 24 hours in the northwest region, and 30 fires had consumed 1,392 acres in the past three days.

The northwest region covers DNR area forestry offices in Bemidji, Blackduck, Warroad, Baudette, Backus, Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes.

Some of the larger fires were burning near Greenbush, Minn., where helicopter crews were responding, Bergerson said. Another fairly large fire was reported Tuesday on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Bergerson said.

Burning restrictions went into effect Monday across northwestern Minnesota. As dry conditions persist, Bergerson said fires are becoming more volatile.

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"We're starting to see some crowning out if it hits pine stands," Bergerson said. In one case, she said, fire quickly burned a field of corn stubble.

"It's going through that crop residue fairly quickly, and we're starting to see larger acreages," Bergerson said.

All of the forestry areas continue to conduct detection flights, she said, and three helicopters for detecting and fighting fires now are based in Roseau, Minn.

Fire danger also is increasing across North Dakota. According to the latest Rangeland Fire Danger Statement issued Wednesday afternoon by the National Weather Service, most of North Dakota is in the medium danger category, and Divide, Williams, McKenzie, Billings and Golden Valley counties in the western part of the state are in the high danger category.

So far this year, 488 fires have burned 10,528 acres across Minnesota, the DNR said Tuesday. More than 8,300 of those acres have involved fires in northwestern Minnesota.

Dokken reports on outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 148; or send e-mail to bdokken@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: FIRES
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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