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Size of 2 Lake of the Woods County fires holds steady as crews continue efforts on the ground

The “North Norris Fire” north of Norris Camp in Beltrami Island State Forest covered 79 acres and was listed as 45% contained Friday, up from 30% Thursday. The “Square Fire” burning northwest of Graceton, Minn., covered 87 acres and was listed as 15% contained, up from 10% Thursday. The size of the two fires was unchanged from Thursday.

North Norris fire 8.18.21
Firefighters and track vehicles use water to extinguish hot spots Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, during mop up on the North Norris Fire north of Norris Camp in Beltrami Island State Forest in Lake of the Woods County. (Contributed/ Minnesota Incident Command System)

Firefighting crews on Friday, Aug. 20, were keeping an eye on the weather and the potential for severe storms as they continued to battle two fires burning in Lake of the Woods County.

The “North Norris Fire” north of Norris Camp in Beltrami Island State Forest covered 79 acres and was listed as 45% contained Friday, up from 30% Thursday according to the Minnesota Incident Command System. The “Square Fire” burning northwest of Graceton, Minn., covered 87 acres and was listed as 15% contained, up from 10% Thursday, the MNICS update stated.

The size of the two fires was unchanged from Thursday, according to the MNICS update.

Locations of the North Norris and Square Fires.png
Locations of North Norris and Square fires in Lake of the Woods County. (Contributed/ Minnesota Incident Command System)

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Firefighters on Friday were continuing to walk the interior of the North Norris Fire in a grid pattern to seek out and extinguish hot spots. Heavy equipment continues to work along the perimeter of the fire to strengthen the control line.

Meanwhile, hand crews fighting the Square Fire were extinguishing smoldering hot spots while heavy equipment continued to mix wetter soil with soil and underground roots that still held heat. Crews were removing timber along the perimeter of the fire that is holding heat underground, with the possibility that aircraft could be deployed if weather conditions permitted.

A total of 100 firefighters continue to be onsite battling the two fires, according to MNICS. The cause of the fires has yet to be determined and remains under investigation, MNICS spokesperson Leanne Langeberg said late Friday afternoon.

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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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