Ontario crew helps battle blaze

Blustery winds Friday fuelled a fire near Littlefork, Mn. and prompted firefighters there to call for “quick strike” assistance from their Ontario counterparts to help contain the blaze.
“The folks from Minnesota asked our folks for what they call a ‘quick strike’ arrangement,” said Harrold Boven, fire management supervisor for the Ministry of Natural Resources here.
“They asked if we could help them out. The answer was yes,” he added.
Boven noted when fire conditions are ripe, reps on both sides of the border discuss how they can help out.
“If there’s an anticipated need, there will be a discussion,” he said, adding Ontario and Minnesota work together “along the border, if we think there’s a risk.”^Two waterbombers buzzed overhead here Friday afternoon as they made the 15-minute round-trip to the affected area south of International Falls.
“Folks would have seen two bombers. One would have been an American CL 215,” Boven noted.
He added a CL 415 waterbomber, which can carry 3,500- 4,000 litres of water, was dispatched from Dryden to supplement the American one. Both used Rainy Lake to fill their tanks.
“They used Sand Bay of Rainy Lake as the water pick-up area. Because the river is low, it gets pretty dicey,” Boven noted.
“You don’t want to be putting anyone in a dangerous situation,” he added.
The Ontario waterbomber spent the afternoon and evening fighting the blaze that scorched roughly 150 acres of grassland, wetlands, and mixed wood about five miles west of Littlefork.
The blaze finally was extinguished by a mop-up crew Saturday, helped by a sustained rainfall.
At present, the cause of the fire— which appears to have started in a dry beaver dam—is unknown, though officials with the Littlefork Fire Department indicated there is reason to believe the fire was deliberately set.
An investigation into the fire is ongoing.