More northern Minnesota residents are being allowed to return to their homes and cabins as the Greenwood fire loses intensity.
No major flames have been seen over the past two days, said Stefani Spencer, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service. "It's just basically smoldering; there's some heat," she said.
Hwy. 2 area residents who had been evacuated were allowed to go back to cabins and homes Friday in the Greenwood Lake, Sand Lake and Dunka River Road areas. Threats to cabins, homes and recreational sites have been greatly diminished, according to the Forest Service.
A minimal number of acres was added to the fire total of 26,089 on Friday.
Recent storms dropped about a tenth of an inch of rain on the area, but now the weather is expected to become drier again. But containment lines made on the north and west sides of the fire have helped slow the spread, Spencer said. Cooler weather has also helped.
"We're in pretty good shape right now, as far as building containment lines," Spencer said. "We're making good progress."
Efforts now will concentrate on the southern and eastern sides of the fire, which do not have substantial containment lines.
Containment of the overall Greenwood fire remains at 37%. Fire containment refers to the amount of the fire's perimeter that has been cleared of fuels like timber and brush. They are often set up adjacent to a road or natural feature that also help prevent the spread.
The news comes as the 40-square-mile Greenwood fire is now expected to be brought under complete control by Oct. 10, a month later than earlier forecast, officials said Wednesday. Portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will be reopened Saturday.
Staff writer Jana Hollingsworth contributed to this report.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759