Crews battle forest fire just outside Ely - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Crews battle forest fire just outside Ely

Updated:

ELY, Minn. (AP) -- Crews are battling a forest fire just outside the northeastern Minnesota town of Ely (EE'-lee).

The Duluth News Tribune reports it apparently started when a vehicle drove over a downed power line. Eyewitnesses told the newspaper flames could be seen from the city and smoke was enveloping the town just before 3 p.m.

Jean Goad of the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center says it started about 1:45 p.m. along Minnesota Highway 1 about one mile south of Ely, on National Forest Service land. Fire-engine crews, helicopters and two water-bombing airplanes were trying to douse the fire that had expanded to an estimated 20 acres by 2:30 p.m.

St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman says the fire is growing rapidly and some people are being evacuated.

Conditions are dry and windy.

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