ISABELLA, Minn. — A huge wildfire burning in northern Minnesota is now 75% contained, officials said Tuesday.
The Greenwood Fire started nearly a month ago on Aug. 15 after lightning struck about 10 miles from the town of Isabella. It showed several periods of rapid growth in earlier days, but has now remained at about 41 square miles since late August. On one day of rapid growth, it destroyed 14 homes and cabins and dozens of outbuildings.
According to a Tuesday morning update from Superior National Forest officials, the fire is now 75% contained -- up from 67% over the weekend. Crews are expected to make more progress Tuesday as they further secure a perimeter. More than 300 personnel are fighting the blaze.
Despite sunny weather Tuesday afternoon, officials said no fire movement is expected.
Forest officials said decreased wildfire risk will allow campgrounds and recreation areas along the upper Gunflint Trail to reopen to visitors Wednesday. Blankenburg Boat Launch, Trails End Campground, Iron Lake Campground and all associated facilities are included in the announcement.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Resources said better weather conditions allowed them to lift burning restrictions in 14 central and northern Minnesota counties. Burning restrictions continue in northeastern Minnesota as wildfire risk remains.
"Until we have a few inches of snow on the ground, we all need to continue our efforts to reduce wildfires," said Allissa Reynolds, wildfire prevention supervisor for the DNR.
Many evacuations for the Greenwood Fire have already been lifted, but Highway 1 is still closed from its intersection with Highway 2 to Lankinen Road. Only homeowners with checkpoint passes can access that segment of the highway. Evacuation orders remain for the McDougal Lake area as crews repair the road and remove hazard trees using heavy equipment.