The “North Minnie Fire” in Red Lake Wildlife Management Area within Beltrami Island State Forest southwest of Baudette, Minn., was 45 percent contained as of Thursday night and remains at 24,840 acres.
According to an update from Bill Paxton of the Eastern Incident Management Team, the fire remains “somewhat active, burning underground in peatlands within the WMA.”
Several forest roads remain closed to provide for public and firefighter safety. Roads that remain closed are the West Bankton Forest Road off of Faunce Road on the east side of the WMA, and West Rapid River Forest Road on the south side of the WMA from Oaks Corner to Mertz’s Corner. East Moose River Road on the west side of the WMA is also closed. Canning Forest Road, Spina Forest Road, and Faunce Forest Road on the east side of the WMA are open. The public is cautioned to drive slow with their headlights on, and watch out for heavy equipment when traveling open roads in the area.
No structures have been lost, but a small number of private hunting cabins within Beltrami Island State Forest are potentially threatened. Also at risk are timber resources, extensive peat lands and a major power line. A total of 200 personnel are assigned to the fire, with cooperators from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Lake of the Woods County, Beltrami County, Red Lake Nation, Minnesota Agency — Bureau of Indian Affairs and local fire departments.
According to the news release, the plan for today is to continue work on containing the south and east flanks of the fire. The southwest flank now is in patrol status. Crews also will continue to recon and establish firefighter access on the north flank.
The fire continues to smolder, burning in duff and peat in remote areas of WMA. It is expected to be more active today with predicted warmer temperatures and strong, drying winds.
For information on large fires in Minnesota, click here.