Wildfire in Eckles Township
July 15, 2021
Eckles Township, Bemidji, MN –July 14, 2021-- On Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at approximately 3:00 PM, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center received a report of a wildland fire in the 5700 block of Radar Rd NW, in Eckles Township, located approximately 3.5 miles northwest of Bemidji. The caller reported that fire was on both sides of Radar Rd NW and was into the forested area on the south side of the roadway. MN DNR Forestry, Bemidji Fire Department and Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office were initially dispatched with additional support being requested from Solway Fire Department and the MN DNR Air firefighting contingent.
The fire quickly spread southward, fueled by the extremely dry conditions causing the Minnesota DNR to issue a voluntary evacuation notice to the residential area located south of Jackpine Rd NW, between Cardinal Rd NW (CSAH 9) and Eckles Road NW.
Not only were lives and homes threatened by this wildland fire but it also had a potential impact to farms and cropland in the area.
At approximately 6:17 PM, the evacuation order was lifted after the DNR reported the fire being contained but the area remained closed to non-residents.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Minnesota DNR, Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of the fire is considered suspicious in nature and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the potential source. If anyone who lives in the area or traveled in the area prior to the fire being discovered, observed any suspicious person(s) or vehicles they are being asked to contact the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office at 218-333-9111 option #2.
Responding to the wildland fire:
Bemidji Fire Department with 10 apparatus and 24 firefighters
Solway Fire Department with 4 apparatus and 10 firefighters
Minnesota DNR with 12 apparatus and 50 firefighters
3 helicopters and 5 fixed wing aircraft
Bemidji Police assisted with traffic control with 2 officers
Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office had 9 Deputies and Investigators on scene
Radar Rd NW, between Cardinal Rd NW and Eckles Rd NW remains closed while clean up, hot spots efforts and the investigation to the source of the fire are being investigated.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all those who helped with the firefighting efforts and evacuation. We appreciate you!
As the drought continues to worsen, conditions are expected to further deteriorate. Citizens are reminded to exercise incredible caution with all potential fire sources. This includes warm vehicle exhaust in dry grasses, recreational fires and construction activities. There are many air firefighting resources positioned in Bemidji that rely on local bodies of water. If you see aircraft doing water collection on area lakes, please yield the right of way.
This case remains under investigation, and no additional information is available at this time.
Sheriff Ernie Beitel
Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office