Cabin owners given evacuation notices as Greenwood Fire grows

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The Greenwood wildfire in northern Minnesota has more than doubled in size since Sunday and continues to grow. So far about 75 cabins and homes west of Isabella were given evacuation notices.

Michael Furtman says it was years of looking before his family found their remote cabin on Middle McDougal Lake near Isabella, Minnesota.

"We’ve been fixing it up and working hard and we are keeping our fingers crossed now than it survives," Furtman said.

A red evacuation notice is posted on the front door. Furtman was given less than two hours Monday to pack up belongings and leave as the Greenwood Fire neared.

"I grabbed a few things and left," he said. "You know, what do you take? What do you leave? It’s heartbreaking," he said.

"Mary Jo and I had paddled almost every route in the boundary waters of Quetico [Provincial Park] over the years. Over 40 years, 75 trips, so I saved the paddles that went on all those trips, the fishing reel my dad bought me when I turned 14, you know stuff like that," he said.

A professional wildlife photographer and videographer, Furtman shot video of a chopper siphoning water from the lake to dump on the fire that has grown to more than 2,000 acres Tuesday.

"We have aircraft out there dropping water on it, we have fire crews responding on the ground, and we’re really doing everything we can to keep it in check, but the conditions are such that it’s allowing for it to spread," said Joanna Gilkeson, spokeswoman for Superior National Forest.

Gilkeson says an incident management team will arrive on-site Wednesday morning, and an Australian 737 has been brought in from fighting fires out west to help put the fire out.

This isn’t the only wildfire burning in northern Minnesota right now.

The Minnesota National Guard is also working two fires near Warroad. There are at least four east zone fires, and four west zone, Gilkeson said, including one detected late Monday night just south of Ely.

Furtman says he is worried sick.

"When we closed on the place last September, we sat down that first evening in the cabin and had a toast and we couldn’t believe it was ours, we couldn’t believe it. … We were very fortunate," he said.

But he is keeping fire crews top of mind knowing they are doing all they can to protect people and property.

"I hope they are all safe. I’d much rather lose my cabin than lose one of them," Furtman said.