More than 300 firefighters now working to contain Greenwood Fire

Greenwood Fire in Lake County, Minnesota
A pink ribbon with the words "Escape Route" flutters in the wind Saturday at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 11 north of Two Harbors, Minn. Highway 2 north from the intersection was closed because of the Greenwood Fire.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

More than 300 firefighters are now working to contain the 9,000-acre Greenwood Fire that's forced the evacuation of dozens of homes and cabins in northeast Minnesota.

Crews had been bracing for a challenging day Saturday, with a cold front bringing gusty winds shifting from the south to the northwest — and little if any rain.

Greenwood Fire in Lake County, Minnesota
Bill Davey (right) and Jane Freyfogle (center) look at a map while Eric Freyfogle retrieves items from the back of his vehicle Saturday where Highway 2 and Highway 11 meet north of Two Harbors, Minn. Highway 2 was closed at that point because of the Greenwood Fire. The group, traveling from Urbana, Illinois, had no idea that the fire had grown large enough to force highway closures and they were forced to use a map to find an alternate route to Ely, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

But as of Saturday night officials did not indicate whether the fire had spread; an update posted online late Saturday afternoon showed the size at 9,067 acres — the same size listed Saturday morning.

And Clark McCreedy, a public information officer with the team managing the fire, told MPR News on Saturday morning that some factors were working in firefighters' favor.

"We have lower temps, higher humidities, we're going to get some cloud cover, we're going to get some smoke and that acts like light cloud cover — those factors moderate fire behavior," he said. "But nonetheless, we're going to have fairly substantial winds under dry conditions. So we still anticipate that this fire could get up and move on us.”

Greenwood Fire in Lake County, Minnesota
A resident of Finland, Minn., placed this sign thanking fire crews along State Highway 1 on Saturday as the Greenwood Fire continued to burn northwest of the area.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Fire crews were working to protect structures and power lines in the McDougal Lake area, along stretches of Minnesota Highway 1 and on both sides of Lake County Highway 2 about 40 miles north of Two Harbors. The fire jumped Highway 2 on Friday and made a run to the northwest, triggering additional evacuations.

Crews from South Dakota, Colorado and Georgia have joined Minnesota firefighters working to control the Greenwood Fire, west of Isabella.

The dangerous fire conditions across northeast Minnesota prompted the Superior National Forest on Saturday to close the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to all visitors for at least a week.

Check back for updates.

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