Oxcart fire continues to grow in northwest Minnestoa, multiple fire department attempting to stop the fire

Multiple fire departments are trying to stop a rapidly growing fire near Mentor, Minnesota, on Tuesday.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Incident Command System, wildland fire crews and 12 local fire departments responded to a rapidly growing wildfire in the area Monday afternoon.

The Oxcart fire started in dry grassland within the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge. It is estimated to be more than 10,000 acres. The fire continues to be active on Tuesday.

Fire crews are focusing their efforts on structure protection and establishing a containment line around the fire.

The initial response was coordinated by more than 50 wildland firefighters from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local fire departments. Aircraft suppression support was active Monday, however, the cool, windy conditions may limit aircraft response over the next two days.

Extremely windy, warm conditions mixed with the prolonged moderate drought contributed to the fire’s growth. Smoke and fire progression prompted the temporary closures of U.S. Highway 2, Minnesota Highway 32, and Polk County Highway 45. All roads have reopened to travel. Travelers near Mentor are advised to use caution as fire equipment will be active in the area.