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Wildfires break out in three states

Fires in WI, MN and CA challenge first responders

May 17, 2013

Wildfires have destroyed homes and forced evacuations in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. In California, 3,800 acres of Los Padres National Forest have been charred by fire.

In Wisconsin, wildfires destroyed several dozen homes and burned more than 32 square miles of forest and grass. The fires occurred only two weeks after a major snowfall.

The Department of Natural Resources reported that the Germann Road fire, which is said was the largest to hit northern Wisconsin in 33 years, was 95 percent contained.

Across northern Minnesota, 12 homes were lost in the Green Valley fire near Menahga, which had burned nearly 11 square miles, closed roads, and prompted the evacuation of a nursing home.

The 6-mile long fire was not considered contained, although it had been surrounded by a firebreak, said Carson Berglund, spokesman for the Minnesota Incident Command System.

Governor Mark Dayton signed an emergency order Tuesday night activating the Minnesota National Guard. Two helicopters and two large tactical trucks to help douse the Green Valley fire.

The Salvation Army is in northern Minnesota serving meals, snacks and water to firefighters and other first responders battling the wildfires.

In California, fire broke in the Los Padres national Forest. The blaze is only 25 percent contained despite a heavy aerial effort to beat back the flames. Fire officials blame rugged terrain along with persistent winds.

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