UPDATE: Barnum fire 100% contained

September 12th update: Monday, crews and heavy equipment finished containing the fire to 100 percent. Resources continued to mop up the fire with good progress. The fire received around 0.4 inches of rain overnight.

All evacuation orders and road closures have been lifted. Electronic signs have been placed on County Road 11 for safety. Please use caution and be aware of firefighter traffic.

On Tuesday, the team will conduct a final infrared flight to identify remaining hot areas on the fire. Resources will then focus on those areas and mop up previous areas with heat. No fire spread is expected

On Saturday, infrared flight located hot spots within the fire for resources to prioritize. Due to vegetation type and initial fire activities, the western portion of the fire holds more heat than the eastern portion. Additionally, storm-impacted trees are slowing progress on some of the western portion.

Resources located hot areas of the fire and extinguished them with water Saturday, helping raise the containment percentage. The fire also received 0.05″ of rain in the last 24 hours.

On Sunday, heavy machinery and firefighters will continue to mop up hot areas of the fire, working in tandem to push the vegetation to expose the burning peat, and then spray water to cool and extinguish the burning vegetation. Resources include 6 engines, 3 dozers, 2 water tenders, 2 excavators, and 6 tracked vehicles with a total of 37 personnel.

Although all evacuation orders and road closures have been lifted, caution is still advised with firefighter traffic still around. As a reminder, flying drones over the fire is prohibited, and any air operations supporting the fire will stop if drones are detected near County Road 11.

September 8 update: The Minnesota Incident Command (MNICS) reports the County Road 11 fire near Barnum has burned 82 acres since Monday. MNICS says there has been no growth reported since Tuesday. The fire is now 85% contained as of Friday morning. All evacuation orders have been lifted, and county roads have been reopened. Drivers should use caution in the area of Carlton County Road 8 and 11, as firefighting personnel will still be in the area.

On Thursday, firefighting crews worked to control the fire’s east side, primarily in the lowland swamp. MNICS says the organic peat soil is provides a long-term fuel source for a wildfire to spread underground. According to the report, it will require additional effort using heavy equipment to turn and mix the peat soil with bare mineral soil to eliminate the heat the peat soil holds.

County Road 11 Fire view of burned area. (AJ Hoffman, US Fish and Wildlife Service)

A Type 3 incident management team has been requested to help with managing and coordinating equipment, personnel and resources needed to complete the control line along the east side and continue the mop-up process to secure the permitter of the fire.

Friday, the MNICS Team B will begin to transition with the local Minnesota DNR to take over the management of the County Rd 11 Fire. Firefighters will continue mopping up the established control line.

Officials want to remind the public that flying drones over the fire area is prhibited. MNICS says “if drones are detected near the County Road 11, any air operations supporting the fire will stop.”

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Initial Story: On Wednesday, September 6 the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center issued an update on the County Road 11 fire in Carlton County. The County Road 11 fire has grown to 70 acres and is 10% contained according to the Minnesota Incident Command Center (MNICS.) Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

MNICS says initially, six residences were evacuated by the Carlton County Sheriff. The Sheriff’s office is working with affected residents to return homes, three remain evacuated.

Tuesday’s rain brought over a half-inch of rain to the area, however MNICS says it was not enough to to put out the fire. Fire crews will continue to battle the hot spots on Wednesday to construct a dozer control line around the fire perimeter.

As WDIO News first reported, the fire was discovered on Monday afternoon when it was reported to have burned around an acre. According to MNICS, the fire was noticed in a swamp marshland near Carlton County Roads 8 and 11 crossroads and threatened nearby structures. Officials say the dry conditions and extreme temperatures in the 90s with strong winds helped fuel the fire. The wildfire then grew quickly with flames ranging from two to four feet in height.

“The fire started burning in some swap marshland area southeast of Barnum, Minnesota. The initial response is based on the weather conditions yesterday, we went through a long weekend of hot dry windy conditions. With those conditions and really not having much perception since the snowpack melted last spring. We’ve just been building up to fire occurrences that are requiring more effort to put out,” said Leannna Langeberg, Public Information Officer with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center.

The Minnesota DNR requested water-dropping aircraft support Monday evening to slow down the fire encroaching on nearby structures, and by nightfall, officials say the fire activity had calmed, althought the fire was “not considered contained, and local fire departments remained on the scene.”

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On Tuesday, fire fighters noticed increased fire activity as winds picked up ahead of an advancing storm system. MNICS says due to remaining threats to structures, multiple water-dropping aircraft were called to return. According to the MNICS report, two CL-415 water-scooping aircraft from Ontario, Canada, were brought in to support suppression efforts as ground crews worked on establishing dozer line on the west edge of the fire.

Drivers along County Roads 8 and 11 are reminded to slow down and follow all state and local laws that protect emergency responders working along roadways to ensure the safety of the firefighters in the area.

James Klump, a homeowner shared that he was notified Tuesday morning around 5 am that he had to evacuate because the fire was spreading.

“They had me evacuate because the flames were going ninety feet in the air, and they looked like they were pretty close. I ain’t got much, everything is pretty much in a destroyed state right now.”

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and mutual aid from Barnum, Moose Lake, Blackhoof, and Carlton Fire Departments, Carlton County Emergency Management.