At 1235 the Clow Fire was spotted 10 miles northwest of Lancaster, Minnesota. With 37-mph wind gusts, temperatures in the 80s and relative humidity dipping below 15 percent today, the grass fire grew rapidly.
At approximately 1700, the half-mile-wide fire crossed into Manitoba and is estimated at 1,500 acres with no containment. Multiple fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were conducting aerial suppression since 1400 that includes three helicopters, three single engine air tankers (SEATs), three Fire Boss aircraft, two CL-415s in addition to air attack platforms. DNR’s Dean McMillin is the incident commander.
A structure (likely a cabin) is confirmed lost. Other structures are threatened. Earlier this afternoon, ground crews conducted burn out operations and did structure protection. At 1427, MIFC fire team leaders requested quick strike assistance from Ontario. Initially, Manitoba was contacted but strong crosswinds prevented the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact (GLFFC) aircraft from taking off.
Air resources were mobilized from the Hibbing tanker base. Muskegs, J-5 engines, bulldozers and tracked vehicles are staged or at the fire. DNR wildland firefighters are working with the Lancaster and Lake Bronson Fire Departments.
MNICS IMT-Red has been on alert since Sunday, May 13. The National Weather Service in Grand Forks and Duluth issued Red Flag Warnings until 2000. Fire activity could remain brisk into tomorrow and parts of Manitoba are currently very dry. This video has photos from ground personnel.