Archived Story

US Forest Service to fight small fires harder [UPDATED]

Published 7:55am Monday, August 6, 2012 Updated 12:56pm Monday, August 6, 2012

DULUTH — The U.S. Forest Service has at least temporarily suspended a policy of letting fires burn in the national forest system, in hopes of saving resources spent on fighting infernos that start small but quickly grow out of control.

The Duluth News Tribune reported Sunday that the Forest Service will get much more aggressive about suppressing small fires in the wilderness. Such a policy likely would have prevented last year’s Pagami Creek Fire near Ely, which burned slowly at first but after unexpectedly hot and windy weather it grew to consume 93,000 acres and cost $23 million to fight.

Superior National Forest supervisor Brenda Halter said the directive came down last month as the national forest system’s firefighting operation was stressed with huge fires in Colorado and other western states.

The Pagami Creek blaze started last Aug. 18 with a lightning strike. Most lightning-started fires in the 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness smolder and die without spreading widely, and even for those that grow Forest Service policy had been to allow them to burn to help renew the forest — a cycle that has shaped forests for millennia.


Boy falls 25 feet from Spring Park apartment

ORONO — Police say a four-year-old boy fell from the third story of an apartment building in the Lake Minnetonka-area town of Spring Park.

Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok tells the Star Tribune the boy was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center but his condition was not immediately known. The chief says he was playing in the living room of an apartment when he fell through a window, which was open but had a screen on it.

The boy fell about 25 feet to the ground.

First responders at the scene conducted CPR on the boy. Farniok says police are investigating but that the incident appears to have been an accident.


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