Greenwood Fire shows extreme fire behavior Monday

Gusty winds and low humidity drive northeast Minnesota fires aggressively eastward.

This time-lapse video from Monday shows billowing pyrocumulus towers as high winds whipped the Greenwood Fire.
U.S. Forest Service

Weather conditions combined to drive aggressive to extreme fire behavior on the wildfires in northeast Minnesota Monday.

Winds gusted to over 30 mph in Ely and through the fire zone, and relative humidity around 26 percent to 28 percent in the dry air mass fueled aggressive fire growth.

Weather conditions at Ely Monday afternoon
Weather conditions at Ely Monday afternoon

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite images clearly captured the exploding smoke plumes over northeast Minnesota from the Greenwood Fire and the John Ek Fire which flared up to the northeast.

GOES-16 visible satellite image Monday
GOES-16 visible satellite image Monday shows multiple wildifre-driven smoke plumes in northeast Minnesota and Ontario.

The smoke plume fanned out across the North Shore where it darkened the sky around Tofte, Schroeder, and Lutsen.

Wind shift Tuesday

Thankfully Monday’s west winds will diminish Monday night. Winds will then shift and blow lightly from the southeast around 5 to 10 mph Tuesday. Winds will not be as strong as Monday, but a shift in wind direction brings yet another challenge to firefighters.

Light rain is possible Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night in the fire zone. Lighter winds and higher humidity should ease fire behavior significantly Tuesday.

European model (ECMWF) forecast 1 for Ely Tuesday
European model (ECMWF) forecast 1 for Ely Tuesday
Met Norway

Rainfall totals will generally be less than .50” across northeast Minnesota Tuesday night. Higher rainfall totals over an inch are possible across parts of central and southern Minnesota Tuesday.

European model (ECMWF) precipitation output
European model (ECMWF) precipitation output through Wednesday.
ECMWF via pivotal weather

Thursday and Friday bring a chance for more significant rainfall to the fire zones in northeast Minnesota.

Stay tuned.