Minnesota Crew Has Close Call During Wildfire

Six wildland firefighters huddled for an hour in individual emergency shelters Monday as the wildfire in Minnesota blew past them, according to The Star Tribune.

The wildfire has been raging across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and has consumed more than 100,000 acres of forest so far.

The crew was working in the Insula Lake area when they heard the fire approaching, Forest Ranger Mark Van Every told the newspaper.

The firefighters jumped into canoes in an attempt to outpaddle the flames, but were soon overtaken by the smoke. It was so thick that they could only see their head lamps as waves were 3 to 4 feet high.

Several of the firefighters positioned themselves on a bare rock and deployed Kevlar shelters while another jumped into the lake and deployed the tent over his head.

All six were in radio contact with each other during the ordeal, but the smoke was so dense that aircraft would not locate them.

"It's very dangerous," Wildland Firefighter Mike Rice said. "There's obviously lots of smoke and fire, and hazardous trees -- snags, we call them -- that are weakened by fire. The winds have really become a hazard."