Firefighters have been working to contain wildfires burning since Friday east of Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. Collectively known as the Skibo Fire, the blaze has grown to 1,000 acres (about 1.5 square miles) and is 21 percent contained as of this morning.
The fire forced several families to evacuate. Some have already been allowed to return home. A swath of the National Forest is also closed to the public while crews, heavy equipment, planes and helicopters operate in the area.
“We’re ordering in resources from other states at this point and this looks to be a large fire,” Christi Powers, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, told the Duluth News Tribune.
As of today, there are 142 people working on the fire, as well as bulldozers, fire engines, and a Chinook helicopter.
While high winds had grounded the aircraft on Friday night, calmer conditions on Sunday allowed aerial observation and constant water bucket drop from helicopters. The Incident Command also reported that less smoke was being observed, giving hope that suppression efforts are working.
Conditions have been very dry since last week, and winds are expected to pick up today to 20 miles-per hour. Crews will keep working today to establish a perimeter and strengthen containment lines.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. It is located along a railroad that services taconite mines in the area, and includes the area where PolyMet Mining is proposing to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine.