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Forum Communications, Published September 11 2012

Crews battle wildfire in Beltrami County

KELLIHER, Minn. — Forestry crews and Beltrami County emergency management continued to fight a wildfire Tuesday, which has burned roughly 300 acres so far.

The grass fire was reported early Monday afternoon in Battle Township, 55 miles north of Bemidji.

“One of the issues (Monday) was the extreme drought situations making firefighting very difficult with the high winds,” said Ron Rabe from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Blackduck Forestry office.

Rabe said the cause of the Battle Township fire is unknown. The fire spread into a peat bog.

“Peat is a very difficult issue to resolve,” Rabe said. “Essentially it’s up to 2 feet of stuff that is like sawdust. It is dry so it just smolders.”

Rabe said DNR forestry resources, which include contracted workers with local equipment, worked throughout the day Tuesday to contain the fire, but it continued to burn. He is confident the fire will not spread much further.

“At this time we feel it is pretty well contained but it is always a factor of the weather,” Rabe said.

No one has been injured in the fire and because it is in a remote area no structures are threatened.