Greenwood Fire more than doubles in size in 24 hours

The Greenwood Fire more than doubled in size in 24 hours, reaching an estimated 30.5 square miles as of Tuesday morning after a day of "extreme" fire behavior caused nearly 160 additional homes to be evacuated.

The fire had been at nearly 14 square miles on Monday morning. It grew quickly Monday with "torching, wind-driven runs and long-range spotting," according to Tuesday’s update from fire officials coordinating the response. Officials said Monday’s conditions forced them to pull air resources, heavy equipment, and ground crews for their safety.

"We are expecting more favorable weather and less active fire conditions for the next few days," the Tuesday update said.

The fire remains completely uncontained.

On Tuesday, firefighters were planning to return to areas impacted by the fire Monday to assess its progression and work to protect structures where it is safe to do so. Crews will also reinforce the southern portion of the fire line, as well as the Minnesota Highway 1 and Lake County Highway 2 corridors.

On Monday, Lake County Emergency Management evacuated 159 residences north of Minnesota Highway 1 and east of the Slate Lake Area. Those are in addition to more than 100 cabins that were evacuated last week.

The Red Cross evacuation center has been moved to the Babbitt Municipal Center at 71 South Drive in Babbitt.

Prior to Monday, evacuation orders were already in effect for McDougal Lake, Sand Lake, the Highway 2 corridor, and north of Highway 1 in the vicinity of East and West Chub lakes, Jackpot, and Slate Lake. Some evacuations were triggered on Friday when the fire crossed over Lake County Highway 2, a Management Action Point.

The fire was first reported on Aug. 15. The U.S. Forest Service said lightning caused the fire near Greenwood Lake, about 15 miles southwest of Isabella in the Superior National Forest.

Minnesota Highway 1 remains closed from New Tomahawk Road to Lankinen Road, and Lake County Highway 2 is closed from Minnesota Highway 1 to Forest Highway 11.