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Fire north of Upper Red Lake may take weeks for crews to contain

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

RED LAKE – A helicopter using infrared technology is expected to be used today, weather permitting, to detect hot spots in the Wannaska Complex fire in northwest Minnesota.

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There are eight wildfires burning in northwest Minnesota, covering about 7,068 acres, according to a news release today from the state’s Incident Command System.

The North Winnie Fire is burning mainly within the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area of the Beltrami State Forest north of Lower Red Lake.

“Firefighters are continuing to secure the south flank of the fire, and are making good progress,” the release said.

At risk are private lands, timber resources, a major power line and a small number of private hunting cabins, but no buildings have been destroyed.

The Associated Press reported it could be weeks before the wildfire, which started about a week ago, is contained. The North Minnie Fire is the largest of fires in the area and has consumed more than 38 square miles.

More than 150 personnel are assigned to the fire, including crews from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties and the Red Lake Tribe.

By Sunday night, about 30 percent of the fire had been contained.

Elsewhere, crews are addressing fires near Karlstad, Thief River Falls, near the Canadian border and west of Lower Red Lake.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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