Bears pose new threat as crews fight Minnesota wildfire

National / World

This photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest in Minnesota shows people unloading donated supplies in Finland, Minn. Officials leading the fight against wildfires in northern Minnesota warned Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, about a new threat: bears attracted by generous donations of food and other supplies.” Donations have far out-stripped our need and our ability to store what we have received,” Superior National Forest officials posted in a social media update. “We have no remaining storage space and donations now must be stored in the open on pallets, making them an attractant to bears. (U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Officials leading the fight against wildfires in northeastern Minnesota are warning about a new threat: bears attracted by generous donations of food and other supplies.

Superior National Forest officials say donations have far outstripped their need and ability to store what they received.

Donations now must be stored in the open. They’ve had two instances of bear damage already.

Crews have been battling the Greenwood Lake fire since it was spotted on Aug. 15, about 15 miles southwest of the town of Isabella. The area received a much-needed 1.5 to 2 inches of rain from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning.

Smoke from the blazes had prompted a warning to residents to remain indoors. An air quality alert issued by state regulators had been extended through Sunday morning as an unhealthy band of smoky air stretched from International Falls through the Iron Range to south of Brainerd.

Officials say the Greenwood Lake fire is burning on roughly 40 square miles in the Superior National Forest and appears to have leveled off in size.

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