Where There’s Smoke

There’s a fire. I’m not sure of the exact location or size of the fire but on our way home from Ely on County Road 1 we saw smoke. We also saw several aircraft circling in the sky and firefighters staging in areas alongside the roadway.

It was near Finland, Minnesota probably 2-3 miles from Lake County Road 7.  The person on the side of the road in a uniform said he thought it was started by yesterday’s lightning and was possibly 200 acres in size.  It was in an area accessible by a road, not in the wilderness so that is good news.  It looked like there was plenty of firefighting efforts underway to put the fire out quickly, that’s what we’re hoping for.

It’s dry and windy and we’re keeping our fingers crossed lightning hasn’t created any other wildfires.

Extreme fire danger in Cook County

For most of the state—including Cook County—the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has posted its fire danger rating as “Extreme,” meaning the fire situation for most of the state is “explosive.”

Under these conditions, the state will not allow open burning of brush and yard debris. Burning restrictions occur in the spring when the snow melts, and fuels like dry grass and leaves are exposed to dry winds and increased fire potential. Restrictions remain in place until sufficient green up, usually four to six weeks during April or May.

Residents can find the latest burning restrictions at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html or contact the local DNR forestry office to obtain current information on fire danger and burning restrictions.

The National Weather Service has issued its own notice. A “Red Flag Warning” is in effect for much of North-Central to Northeast Minnesota due to very dry and windy conditions.

The fire conditions are very similar to that at the start of the 2007 Ham Lake wildfire, which burned 75,000 acres and approximately 138 structures, began with a small campfire.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

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