Wildfire Burns Homes Near Menahga in Northwest Minnesota

May 17, 2013

Firefighters battled Wednesday to contain a wildfire that destroyed several homes and buildings and threatened yet more in northwestern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center said the Green Valley Fire had burned 3,000 to 4,000 acres about two miles northwest of Menahga since it started on private land Tuesday afternoon. The fire was zero percent contained as of 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Crews planned to fight the fire from the air Wednesday by dropping water from helicopters and airplanes. The fight continued on the ground with fire engine crews, tracked vehicles and bulldozers.

Strong winds, high temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation contributed to the fire’s spread Tuesday. Conditions were expected to be cooler Wednesday. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rates the fire danger in the area and a large part of the rest of Minnesota as extreme.

The fire center said an unconfirmed number of homes and other structures had been lost, while other homes, cabins and structures were threatened.

Jill Fiemeyer with Wadena County Emergency Management told KBRF-AM in Fergus Falls that a nursing home was evacuated as a precaution and that the residents were taken to a school being used as a shelter in Sebeka. U.S. Highway 71 was closed from Menahga for about 10 miles south to Park Rapids

Gov. Mark Dayton signed an emergency order Tuesday to facilitate the fight against more than 25 wildfires that have broken out around the state in recent days due to the hot, dry weather, including two large fires that burned a combined 4,900 acres about 35 miles west and 45 miles northwest of Red Lake. Those fires had not destroyed any structures.

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