KARLSTAD, Minn. - Evacuation orders will be lifted Wednesday morning for residents of a small community in northwest Minnesota chased from their homes by an advancing wildfire.
Karlstad Fire Chief Sam Grandstand is asking residents to wait until noon to return to their homes so firefighters can remove rigs and equipment.
Eleven homes and two dozen outbuildings near Karlstad were destroyed Tuesday by a wildfire fueled by tinder-dry conditions and gusting winds.
Minnesota Interagency Fire Center spokesperson Jean Goad says the blaze that threatened Karlstad is still burning but is under control, and adds that at least seven other wildfires are currently burning.
Goad says the Minnesota National Guard has four helicopters and crew members in the region; they will be conducting an infrared fly over of the area.
The weather in the region has turned considerably colder. local forecasts call for rain Wednesday afternoon, changing over to snow early Thursday with accumulations of up to 7 inches.
Goad says that will give firefighters a reprieve but it won't add up to much moisture to recharge the soils in northwestern Minnesota. Most of the area is still 12 to 15 inches behind on precipitation.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )