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Cost of Fighting Northeastern Minnesota Forest Fire Reaches $14 Million

Greg Volhabber

ELY, Minn. (AP) – A fresh command team takes over Monday against a forest fire in northeastern Minnesota.

Spokesman Larry Helmerick says the Pagami Creek fire was 71 percent contained as of Sunday evening. He says the costs of fighting it have reached $14.2 million.

Helmerick says his Colorado-based team turns the job over at 6 a.m. Monday to a Minnesota team that has experience on this fire and hopes to put the fire to bed.

The fire has blackened about 145 square miles in and near the Boundary Waters but has grown very little since mid-September. It was sparked by a lightning strike about 14 miles east of Ely Aug. 18.

The weather is cooperating, but Helmerick says the forecast for later in the week calls for record temperatures and high winds.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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