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Associated Press 

Weather fans fires as bans enforced across Minnesota

Crews battled blazes statewide, aided by a perfect storm of dry conditions.


Statewide fire restrictions took effect Friday, including bans on campfires, as an extended lack of rain, unusually warm air and high winds combined to create explosive conditions across Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources limited open burning to special exceptions granted by county, state or federal agencies. Recreational or campfires were allowed only in designated fire receptacles designed for them at residences, campgrounds or resorts.

Four helicopters spent Friday dropping water on a wildfire that started Wednesday about 10 miles northwest of Greenbush in a remote part of far northwestern Minnesota, fire information officer Ron Sanow said. The Juneberry 3 fire has scorched more than 47 square miles.

Firefighters who've been trying to suppress a blaze in and near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area were trying to snuff out spots burning outside the lines they'd built around the Pagami Creek fire, which has been largely contained.

Officials are keeping an eye on a fire in a remote part of Voyageurs National Park that has charred about 100 acres of trees, brush and swamp. Scott Bressler, the park's fire management officer, said they're letting it burn because it's "out in the middle of nowhere."

Several smaller fires have cropped up elsewhere around the state. Jean Goad, a spokeswoman with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, said tanker planes were sent to drop water on a 150-acre fire southeast of Red Lake on Thursday.

In southern Minnesota, five departments were called Friday to control a blaze in a cornfield 7 miles east of Le Sueur. "It was huge," Le Sueur County Director of Emergency Management Ann Traxler said.

When a cornfield fire broke out north of Austin in southeastern Minnesota on Thursday, farmers helped firefighters contain the burning brush by spreading a perimeter of manure around it, Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi said.

Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.


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