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Northern Minnesota wildfire 80% contained, forest restrictions lifted



FILE - In this photo provided by the United States Forest Service, firefighters battle a wildfire, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, near Greenwood Lake in the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota. The fire has burned more than 14 square miles and promoted a new round of evacuations of homes and cabins on Monday. (United States Forest Service via AP)

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say they have lifted fire restrictions for the entire Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota after reports over the weekend that the Greenwood Lake blaze was 80% contained.

While the region remains historically dry, officials don’t expect the fire to spread, said Val Cervenka, a spokeswoman for the team managing the fire. It is not showing any flames, although some of its perimeter straddles inaccessible wetlands and full containment won’t come until snow falls, she said.

This past week crews continued to find and dig out hot spots along the fire’s edge and remove fallen or standing dead trees, including in the hard-hit McDougal Lakes area. Other work included sorting salvageable wood and fixing damaged roads, the Star Tribune reported.

The fire continues to smolder in ash pits buried within peat bogs, said Patrick Johnson, a fire behavior analyst for the Greenwood fire and a Superior National Forest employee.

“We can’t find them all no matter how much effort we put into it,” he said at the meeting.

The fire was started by lightning on Aug. 15 about 10 miles southwest of Isabella. It has destroyed 14 cabins and homes along with 57 outbuildings. Evacuation orders stand for the roughly 40 residences within the McDougal Lakes area.

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