BELTRAMI COUNTY, Minn. - Crews are keeping a careful eye on conditions in north central Minnesota as they battle a wildfire that has now blackened nearly 25,000 acres.
Weather forecasters are predicting gusty winds that will reach 30 mph or more by Friday afternoon and humidity is expected to drop. A crew of 200 firefighters is battling the blaze in the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area, which is now considered 45 percent contained.
Fire officials say the fire continues to smolder, burning in duff and peat in remote areas of WMA. Fighting peat fires safely and effectively requires a different tactical approach.
Recent snowfall and rains have helped tremendously in reducing the intensity of the fire on the surface. However, it will require significant precipitation to put the fire out below ground. Peat fires can burn almost indefinitely and can even re-ignite after winter snows melt.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )