A wildfire consumed everything in its wake late Thursday, April 25, including a cabin on Upper Mission Lake.
Firefighters and emergency responders from several agencies responded to the blaze about 9 p.m. Thursday, sawing through brush to gain access to areas where flames persisted. According to personnel at the scene, the fire originated on one side of the road where the cabin sat, before jumping across the road into the forest on the other side. The cabin was a total loss, according to Mission Fire Chief Eric Makowski-Budrow. Also set alight was a pontoon nearby and additional structures sustained damage.
About 10:30 p.m., officials launched the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office drone to observe the fire line, according to the police scanner. No one was reported injured at that time, but responders continued fighting the fire late Thursday night. Additional information on the blaze was unavailable.
Observed on scene were Mission and Nisswa firefighters, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources firefighters, Crow Wing County sheriff's deputies, emergency medical technicians, a truck from the Central Lakes College Fire and EMS program and workers from Crow Wing Power.
A combination of high winds and low humidity led the National Weather Service to warn of approaching critical fire weather conditions Thursday.
In a special weather statement, NWS of Duluth noted north-central and northeastern Minnesota were susceptible to fires, including Cass, Crow Wing and Aitkin counties. The NWS advised against burning until conditions improved, which was expected at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stated no burning permits would be issued in much of north-central and northwestern Minnesota, while campfires are currently allowed.
A forest fire was reported in the Chippewa National Forest about 5 p.m. Thursday, when a dispatcher called for members of the Longville Fire Department to assist. About 7 p.m., a Longville fire official reported the fire was out, but it burned about 30 acres in the federally protected area. Additional information on the fire was unavailable Thursday night.
To the west, Todd County led the eastern edge of an expansive area in a red flag warning. The affected area extended west to cover all of North Dakota, a northern portion of South Dakota and several eastern counties of Montana. Northwestern Minnesota was also in extreme fire danger, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, including Wadena County and a northwestern portion of Cass County. Much of north-central Minnesota-including the rest of Cass County and Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison and Mille Lacs counties-were in very high fire danger. This means fires start very easily, the DNR reports, and spread at a very fast rate.
Winds approached 30 mph at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Thursday, and the weather forecast for Friday appeared to indicate more of the same. The NWS predicted Friday, April 26, would be sunny with a high near 55 degrees and breezy, with a northwest wind ranging 10-15 mph and gusts as high as 25 mph. Precipitation is not in the forecast until Friday night, when the NWS notes a slight chance of rain.
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