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At least 12 dwellings lost to Greenwood Fire around McDougal Lake

The fire has grown by a couple thousand acres since Tuesday.

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Four water bombers, dwarfed by the Greenwood Fire, collect water from a lake Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. Contributed / Joe Thorne
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Twelve cabins and homes in the McDougal Lake area have been lost to the Greenwood Fire.

Everyone was evacuated from the area when the fire roared through on Monday, said Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson, who surveyed the area on Tuesday after conditions were safe enough.

"Myself and one of my sergeants went through with one of the fire crews so we could notify the home owners on whether their place was still there or if it was gone," he said.

Since he didn't know how many structures stood on each property before the fire, Johnson wasn't able to count any potentially lost outhouses, garages and shacks.

The sheriff's office is still waiting on confirmation on whether some remote water-access cabins have been lost to the flames.

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About 25 homes and cabins in the McDougal Lake area were not lost to the fire, Johnson said, though they may have sustained some damage. However, the area is active and a shift in wind direction could put the still-standing dwellings back in the fire's way.

Structure firefighters with several local fire departments are monitoring the area around the remaining cabins and homes and putting out hotspots.

"They're there all day and all night, working whatever hotspots and whatever comes up, trying to protect the structures still in there," Johnson said.

The estimated size of the Greenwood Fire has grown a couple thousand acres to 21,720 since Tuesday.

Cloud cover, lower temperatures and increased humidity Tuesday helped to moderate fire activity and growth, according to a joint news release from the responding agencies.

After crews were pulled from the fire for their safety Monday, engines returned Tuesday to protect structures in the McDougal Lake area and along Lake County Highway 2. More crews and equipment have been called on to increase fire suppression efforts.

Wednesday's weather of lighter wind and lower temperatures was expected to bring favorable conditions for the fire attack efforts. Firefighters planned to reduce the amount of wood fuel near homes or the edge of the fire to help prevent the fire from expanding, the release said. Crews also planned to strengthen the containment lines around the perimeter of the fire.

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Logging equipment will be used to remove trees and brush on the south side of Minnesota Highway 1, reducing the amount of burnable fuel that can carry the fire.

Sign up for emergency text alerts and calls from Lake County at co.lake.mn.us/emergency-management or call Lake County Emergency Management at 773-844-6449 for information.

The American Red Cross has an evacuation site at the Babbitt Municipal Center, 71 South Drive. It serves as an overnight shelter to help anyone displaced by the fire.

READ MORE ABOUT THE GREENWOOD FIRE

Closures

  • Lake County Highway 2 is closed from Forest Highway 11 to Minnesota Highway 1.
  • Highway 1 is closed from New Tomahawk Road to Lankinen Road.
  • Part of the Superior National Forest is closed. It extends across areas within the Kawishiwi, Laurentian and Tofte ranger districts.
  • A temporary flight restriction is in place over the area.
  • The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closed to all visitors beginning Saturday through Sept. 3.

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 with information from the Lake County Sheriff's Office on the loss of the 12 dwellings. It was originally posted at 11:54 a.m. Aug. 25.

Related Topics: FIRESLAKE COUNTY
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