UPDATE: Wildfire Near Menahga 80% Contained - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UPDATE: Wildfire Near Menahga 80% Contained

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Update 9:00am Saturday:

All evacuations and road closures in the Green Valley Fire area have been lifted.

Forecast for Saturday shows winds southeasterly at 10 mph, high temp of 79.

Rain was received across the entire fire area, ranging from .4" to about an inch. Though not enough to entirely extinguish the fire, the rain is expected to help.

Fire behavior is expected to be minimal.


Update 9:30 PM Friday:

The Green Valley Fire is now 80% contained. Additional heat-sensing infrared flights over the fire area will be completed Saturday morning if weather permits, and ground crews will work on hot spots. Landowners will be visited to discuss rehabilitation needs, such as leveling dozer lines.

Update 8:00 PM Thursday:

The wildfire burning near Menahga, Minnesota is now 65% contained. All evacuees have been allowed back to their homes. The estimated area burned remains at 7,100 acres.

Friday, a small helicopter with hand-held heat-sensing equipment will begin searching for remaining hotspots within the fire area, weather permitting. It will fly low and slow, and may continue scanning during cool conditions in late afternoon and again early morning Saturday if conditions allow. Fire personnel will address any hotspots detected and continue to improve containment lines and provide structure protection. Private landowners will be contacted to determine rehabilitation needs.

Update 7:00 AM Thursday:

Lighter winds today are expected to help firefighters working to contain a wildfire that has consumed 7,100 acres and destroyed 12 homes near Menahga, Minnesota.

The Minnesota DNR told us this morning the fire is 25% contained.

Crews have built a bulldozer line around most of the fire perimeter and have attacked hot spots with water-dropping planes and helicopters.

Firefighters from more than 40 departments across the region were working on the ground.

The Red Cross met with many homeowners at a community meeting last night in Menahga and promised it will do what ever it can to help people get back on their feet.

Update 10:30 PM Wednesday:

Fire officials report the Green Valley Fire is now 25% contained. The sheriff's department plans to open roads starting at noon on Thursday.

Update 5:30 PM Wednesday:

Minnesota Public Information Officer Gill Knight confirms with Valley News Live that so far, 12 homes have been lost and 41 outdoor structures burned down in the Green Valley Fire.  The fire is between Park Rapids and Menahga, MN and is still burning.

Update 3:15 PM Wednesday:

The following update is from the Minnesota Incident Command System, the organization dealing with information updates for the Green Valley Fire near the Park Rapids and Mehahga, MN areas.

Current Status:  The Green Valley Fire started on private land northwest of Menahga at approximately 3:00 PM on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.  Strong winds and dry conditions contributed to fire spread.  The effects of the drought linger and vegetation is extremely dry.  A Minnesota Type 2 Incident Management Team (IC Aultman) is assigned effective 6:00 AM on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

  • Acreage: Roughly estimated at 7,100 acres after flight Wednesday morning.
  • Containment: The fire is zero percent contained.
  • Values at Risk: At risk are private lands, homes, cabins and other structures.
  • Structures Lost: An unconfirmed number of homes and other structures have been lost.

Multiple resources and agencies are helping fight the flames of the Green Valley Fire. Engines, tracked vehicles and dozers, in addition to helicopters and single engine air tankers are present.  The Minnesota National Guard has sent 2 Blackhawk helicopters with a 600 gallon buckets and a Chinook helicopter with a 2,000 gallon bucket.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Becker County Sheriff, the Wadena County Sheriff and multiple local fire departments are coordinating efforts. This fire will be managed under unified command with the DNR, County Sheriffs and fire chiefs from the Wolf Lake and Park Rapids Fire Departments.

On Wednesday, fire crews are focusing their efforts on protecting threatened structures and containing the fire using heavy equipment and air resources. In addition, mop up around threatened structures in the fire and 150 inside the perimeter where possible.

Road Closures: Highway 71 between Park Rapids and Menahga is closed between County Road 87 to the north and Main Street in Menahga to the south.   Traffic is being redirected along alternate routes.  Additional closures may be possible throughout the day.

Update 12:15 PM Wednesday:

 The Green Valley Fire is now estimated to have burned 7,100 acres so far.  An unknown number of structures have been lost, and several more are threatened.

Firefighters are attacking the fire from both the ground and the air.

At this point, the amount of containment is unknown.  Some evacuations and road closures remain in place including County Road 23. 

Heavy smoke has been reported over Hwy 71 and the Minnesota Highway Patrol is asking drivers to use extra caution.

A public meeting on the fire has been scheduled for 8:00 Wednesday night at the Menahga Elementary School. 

Valley News Live has a crew in Menahga, and we will update this story as more information becomes available.

Original Post:

Fire officials in Wadena and Hubbard counties say a wildfire burning between Park Rapids and Menahga is 0% contained.

We got the update early Wednesday morning at the fire command center.

So far the fire has burned about 4,000 acres and destroyed several buildings, though fire officials don't have an exact number yet.

School is canceled today in Sebeka and Menahga.

The so called Green Valley Fire started on private land northwest of Menahga around 3:00 PM yesterday.

Strong winds and dry conditions contributed to the fire spread. Fire officials say homes, cabins and other structures remain at risk today.

Firefighters who've been called in from around the Valley hope to use five aircraft Wednesday to gain control of this fire.

That includes two light aircraft, two Blackhawk helicopters with 600 gallon drop buckets and one Chinook helicopter with a 2,000 gallon drop bucket.

Highway 71 between Park Rapids and Menahga is closed between Co. Road 87 to the north and Main St. In Menahga to the south.

Additional road closures may be possible throughout the day.

The origin and cause of the fire is under investigation by a Minnesota wild lands fire investigation team.

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