Minnesota’s Greenwood Fire ‘Like a Freight Train,’ Officials Say
The fire, in the northeastern portion of the state near the Canadian border, has burned more than 19,000 acres and is zero percent contained.
A wildfire in Minnesota is behaving like a ‘freight train,’ a fire official said.
Firefighters battled a wildfire near Greenwood Lake in the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota on Monday.Credit…United States Forest Service, via Associated Press
Aug. 24, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ET
A fast-moving wildfire in northeastern Minnesota has drawn hundreds firefighters and prompted a wave of evacuations since it started nine days ago.
The Greenwood fire, in the Superior National Forest not far from the Canadian border, has burned at least 19,000 acres and is zero percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire was started by lightening, the authorities said.
In a news conference on Monday night, Brian Pisarek, an incident commander, compared the to a “freight train.”
“Once it starts rolling,” he said, “it starts to build up steam and feed off itself.”
More than 400 firefighters were assigned to the Greenwood fire, one of two large blazes in the state. About 300 homes have been evacuated, a fire official said. Residents in some areas were advised to prepare to evacuate.
An air-quality alert was in place through Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The Greenwood fire, and other fires burning just across the Canadian border, will contribute to the smoky conditions across the region, and changes in wind direction over the next day will contribute to smoke plumes, the Weather Service said. Strong to severe storms are expected on Tuesday, with winds of up to 60 miles per hour and large hail.
Severe to exceptional drought conditions connected to climate change have ravaged much of Minnesota, as in areas across the Northern Plains and Western United States, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought restrictions were imposed in parts of Minnesota last week, with limits or bans on some activities, such as lawn-watering. Farmers across the area have also noticed smaller produce as a result of the drought.