MENAGHA, Minn. - By noon Tuesday, the Green Valley Fire north of Menagha had consumed more than 7,000 acres, several structures had been destroyed and some homes were lost.
The majority of the damaged structures were barns and outbuildings, fire officials said.
The fire started on Tuesday afternoon and kept crews busy through Wednesday afternoon.
"Our concern is the wind is a north wind. We will pin this thing down and not (let it) get any closer to Menagha," DNR Incident Spokesperson Ron Sanow said.
By 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the winds had kicked back up and the DNR planes were scooping water out of Blueberry Lake at a furious pace.
Pam Hjermstad watched from her deck. She had been evacuated from her home Tuesday night and returned early Wednesday.
"We were so relieved. We just collapsed in each other's arms," she said, after discovering the fire had been stopped about 15 yards from her front door.
By Wednesday afternoon, Jeff Fix was ready to collapse. He had been battling hotspots on his property for 20 hours. He says the fire came across the valley quickly.
"I got my kids out of here and my grandkids out of here, and I came back and the house was on fire and the 4-wheel drive was on fire. But I lost everything else, just like that. I couldn't control it. I would have died burning, my face was so hot," he said recalling the moment he faced the fire head-on.
Fix lost two barns and a half a dozen vehicles. As the winds kicked up Wednesday afternoon, DNR choppers and planes were dropping water all around him.
"It is chaos. It just keeps right on going," he said.
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