Wildfire Sweeps Through Bemidji Wetland Area
Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles as a wetland wildfire broke out between US Highway 2 West and Adams Avenue, directly west of Bemidji. The fire started in a highway ditch after a vehicle malfunctioned, according to the Bemidji Fire Department.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 2:54 on Friday afternoon. With dry conditions and wind gusts ranging from 12-16 mph, the flames quickly fanned across a wetland and state game refuge.
At one point, the Bemidji Fire Chief shut down portions of Highway 2 for approximately 20 to 30 minutes while crews battled the flames.
Due to the nature of the blaze, the department sent two engines, a water tender, two “brush” vehicles and two command vehicles to the scene.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sent four “brush” engines to the scene. The DNR also used two single engine planes and a helicopter from its Bemidji base to fight the fire. The planes sent a flame retardant down onto the area to prevent the spread. The helicopter used water from the wetland and surrounding area to extinguish the smoldering ground.
While the fire department says that the area was contained relatively quickly, crews stayed on the scene for four and a half hours.
No one was injured and no structural damage was reported.
The Minnesota State Patrol and Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene.