Firefighters on the ground and a fleet of firefighting aircraft battled a number of fires in NE Minnesota on Saturday, May 7, 2016.
The largest is the Skibo Fire near Hoyt Lakes. Starting as 8 to 10 small fires along a four-mile section of railway on Friday, May 6, the Skibo Fire quickly grew to 1003 acres. Aircraft working the fire on Saturday included two Army National Guard Blackhawk Helicopters. A Minnesota Interagency Incident Management Team is assigned to the fire and will be putting in containment lines and working to protect structures today.
The Hut Two Fire near Finland is now 50% contained and 160 acres. Three helicopters, three “Fire Boss” aircraft, two large air tankers dropping retardant and a CL415 water scooping plane from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, helped protect structures and limit the growth of this fire under extreme weather conditions. According to Aaron Mielke with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, “The aircraft really helped keep this fire in check as it was too hot to get ground personnel near it at the onset”.
An air tanker, two water scooping Fire Boss aircraft, two helicopters and a Beaver were used on the Taylor Road Fire near Embarrass that is presently 250 acres and 20% contained.
Firefighters on the Lake Hattie Fire near Lake George were able to contain that blaze at 365 acres.
Saturday was a red flag day over all of North Central and Northern Minnesota with winds exceeding 25 miles per hour and extremely dry fuels due to lack of moisture this spring.
Dry conditions will persist in Northern Minnesota well into next week with only minimal rainfall predicted at this time.