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Work continues to mop up wildfire detected Tuesday in Kittson County of northwest Minnesota

The Minnesota Incident Management Team assumed control of firefighting efforts at 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, and 30 personnel are assigned to the fire, which covers 1,936 acres and is listed as 90% contained.

lancaster fire.jpeg
A 1,936-acre wildfire at Beaches Lake Wildlife Management Area north of Lancaster, Minn., detected Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, was listed as 90% contained as of Friday morning, Oct. 6, 2021. Contributed photo

Crews continue to mop up a wildfire that was detected Tuesday, Oct. 5, within Beaches Lake Wildlife Management Area in Kittson County of northwest Minnesota.

The Minnesota Incident Management Team assumed control of firefighting efforts at 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, and 30 personnel are assigned to the fire, which covers 1,936 acres and is listed as being 90% contained.

The Incident Management team provides additional support for containing the fire while freeing up local resources for any new fires that might break out. Firefighting efforts now are focused on mop-up and cooling down interior pockets of heat, according to a news release from the Minnesota Incident Command System.

Personnel from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and fire departments from Lake Bronson, Lancaster, Greenbush and Hallock, Minn., also are assisting with firefighting efforts.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Dry conditions resulting from extreme drought, along with steady winds, contributed to rapid fire growth through areas of grass, brush, timber and swampland in the early stages of the fire. Driven by strong south winds, the fire Tuesday advanced north toward Kittson County Highway 4 and the Manitoba border.

Local fire departments were able to conduct a “firing” operation to burn off the vegetation between the front of the flames and Highway 4 to keep the fire from moving farther north. Helicopters also were brought in during initial firefighting efforts, and crews from the DNR and local fire departments worked through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning to establish a control line around the perimeter of the fire.

Rain in the forecast, along with winds shifting from the south to the north, should further benefit control efforts. Widespread wetting rains are expected to move into the area Saturday, according to the MNICS fire update.

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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