Oxcart wildfire near Mentor Minnesota driven by wind and dry conditions

  • Contact: Leanne Langeberg, 218-244-1911
  • Email: leanne.langeberg@state.mn.us
  • Websites: www.mnics.org

Erskine, Minn., March 30, 2021 – Wildland fire crews and 12 local fire departments responded to a rapidly growing wildfire Monday afternoon near Mentor, Minn.  The Oxcart Fire started in dry grassland within the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge. It is estimated to be more than 10,000 acres. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

The fire continues to be active today along the east edge within two miles of the Mentor community. Fire crews are focusing their efforts on structure protection, and establishing a containment line around the fire. The Minnesota Incident Command Type 3 Incident Management Team led by Ernest Schmitt will assumed control of the fire on Tuesday, March 30, at 6:00 pm.

Extremely windy, warm conditions mixed with the prolonged moderate drought contributed to the growth of the fire. Smoke and fire progression prompted the temporary closures of US Highway 2, State Highway 32, and Polk County Highway 45. All roads have reopened to travel. Travelers near Mentor are advised to use caution as fire equipment will be active in the area. The initial response was coordinated by more than 50 wildland firefighters from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and local fire departments. Aircraft suppression support was active yesterday; however, the cool windy conditions may limit aircraft response over the next two days.