WATCH: Large Smoke Plume From Greenwood Fire Near Isabella, Minnesota Shows Up On Weather Satellite
The Greenwood Fire about 15 miles southwest of Isabella, Minnesota has grown aggressively from an estimated "few hundred acres" on Sunday afternoon to about 2,000 acres just over a day later.
The fast-moving fire was initially reported by a spotter plane around 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon (August 16). The Greenwood Fire is the largest of three fires spotted over the weekend, with the other two being reported in remote areas of the BWCAW on Saturday.
The US Forest Service shared at about 9:00 pm on Monday night that they now estimate the fire to be around 2,000 acres, with fire activity on Monday described as "extreme" in their report. They explained that they have had multiple air and ground crews working on trying to limit the spread of the fire.
While the fire has grown aggressively in the first day, the images from Sunday showed a dramatic scene early on as seen from a spotter plane (below). The smoke plume showed up on the Duluth National Weather Service's radar Sunday afternoon as well.
The initial plume on Sunday extended from the fire to just north of Isabella, which is about 15 miles northeast of the fire. The same windy conditions out of the southwest that helped to fuel the fire itself pushed the plume of smoke into the Isabella area on Sunday afternoon.
As noted above, the fire has now spread to about 2,000 acres. A representative from the USFS explained on Monday afternoon that the ongoing near-critical fire weather conditions in the region (hot, dry, windy conditions) and a fire-friendly blend of a mixed-conifer forest with some insect-killed trees are driving the growth of the Greenwood Fire.
As the fire has grown extensively in what the USFS calls a "very active" fashion, this has made the fire's smoke plume even more visible from space.
The Duluth National Weather Service office shared a satellite loop of Monday's visible satellite. In it, you can see streams of smoke from a series of fires just across the Minnesota-Canada border, along with a prevalent, growing stream of smoke in west-central Lake County that extends into Canada.
The presence of this smoke plume prompted the MPCA to issue an air quality alert for a portion of the Minnesota Arrowhead to the north of the fire, due to the ongoing south-southwest wind pushing smoke toward Canada.
The fire has also led to the closure of some roadways, with the Lake County Sheriff's Office announcing the closure of parts of Highway 1 and Highway 2 in the area of the fire.
Evacuations and closures of recreation facilities have also been implemented in the area of McDougal Lake and along the Highway 2 corridor near Sand Lake, and just north of Highway 1. The USFS reports that approximately 75 residences have been affected by the evacuation so far.
The Duluth NWS reports that near-critical fire weather conditions are expected to continue into Tuesday, not helping the situation for the Greenwood Fire. Low humidity and wind gusts out of the south up to 25 mph are expected, further fanning the flames of this fire as crews work to contain it.