Wildfires Burn Thousands of Acres Near Red Lake, Minn. - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Wildfires Burn Thousands of Acres Near Red Lake, Minn.

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  Fire crews have been working what are being called the Buffalo Ranch and River Road fires on the Red Lake reservation, where thousands of acres went up in flames.

  During the height of the fire fight on Tuesday, two helicopters and 2 tanker planes were battling the blaze that wound up burning 8-thousand acres on the western edge of the Red Lake Reservation, 40-miles southeast of Thief River Falls.

  Firefighter, Chris Skildum says it was the aerial attack that was able to finally get the fire under control. Skildum says he was on the ground, in one of these bombardiers,   and barely able to stay ahead of the blaze that was being fueled by 50-mile per hour wind gusts.

Chris Skildum, Firefighter: "Hard to catch up with the fire."

Reporter: "It was moving pretty fast?"

Skildum: "Yes."

Reporter: "How fast?"

Skildum: "Faster than our machines were moving us."

   Today, crews were using bombardiers, the only thing that can get through this heavy brush to get in the back woods and put out remaining hot spots.

Joe Harris, Firefighter: "Right, that will be the big thing. Looks pretty good right now. If we can just keep it here for a day or two longer, work on the hot spots, get it cooled we'll be O.K.. Hopefully, we'll get some rain this weekend."

  Harris says this fire may have been intentionally set.

Reporter: "It may have been arson?"

Harris: "Don't know. But it started right here near the highway. We have a good bit of traffic here, so it may have been that."

  At this point, the fire here is under control.  Crews will continue keeping watch over the area for the next couple of days to knock down any flare ups.


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