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.
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.
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"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.”
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.