Weather Forecast


Still burning, fire in Beltrami Forest consumes more than 6,000 acres of timber

Smoke billows above a stand of pine trees Wednesday in Beltrami Island State Forest in this photo from Penny Turgeon-Kimble of Warroad, Minn. The "Palsburg Fire," as it's called, had burned more than 6,000 acres of timber by Thursday morning, and firefighters continued to try and contain the blaze.

A forest fire that started Wednesday north of Minnesota's Hayes Lake State Park in Beltrami Island State Forest had burned more than 6,000 acres of timber as of Thursday morning and hasn’t been contained, officials say.

Jeff Edmonds, public information officer for the fire response team, said no structures are known to be destroyed at this point. Firefighters have installed roadblocks on the Thompson Forest Road and secondary roads in the forest, he said.

“We’re encouraging the public to stay out because of heavy traffic, potential traffic and the potential for the fire to spread in an easterly direction today,” Edmonds said this morning.

The fire has been dubbed the “Palsburg Wildfire” because it started near the Palsburg Road just north of Hayes Lake in Roseau County.

The fire is about 20 miles southeast of Roseau, Minn., in the Bemis Hill area.

Adam Munstenteiger, area forestry supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources in Warroad, said Wednesday the fire had destroyed “thousands and thousands of cords” of prime Norway pine and Jackpine and had jumped the Thompson Forest Road near Bemis Hill, driven by strong south winds.

Edmonds said the winds Thursday were moderate and not the 30 to 40 mph gusts that hindered firefighting efforts Wednesday.

Kristi Coughlon, regional information officer for the DNR in Bemidji, said about 100 personnel are onsite fighting the fire. Participating agencies include the DNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service and the Warroad and Roseau fire departments.

Edmonds said equipment resources include two Blackhawk helicopters and a smaller helicopter that’s available, along with numerous bulldozers. Additional firefighters also are being deployed to the area, he said.

Read an earlier version of the story.

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.