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Fires Burning Around Minnesota

May 4, 2000

PRINCETON, Minn. (AP) _ Warm, windy and dry conditions fanned several wildfires across the state Wednesday, destroying at least four homes near this town north of Minneapolis.

The biggest fire was east of Orr in northeastern Minnesota. The Red Cross set up an emergency center just in case an evacuation became necessary Wednesday night.

``Everybody’s getting worried. They’re boxing up their pictures and getting ready,″ said Ron Rutchasky, owner of Portage Inn Resort in Buyck, who was about eight miles away from the fire.

The National Weather Service issued a ``red flag″ warning through northeastern Minnesota because of the gusty winds, low dewpoints and high temperatures.

Department of Natural Resources crews and local fire departments also fought forest and brush fires near Alexandria, Baxter, Garrison, Grand Rapids, Nisswa and Willow River in central and northern Minnesota.

The Princeton fire burned at least four homes and damaged at least five others as it scorched around 1,000 acres before it was contained. Planes and helicopters dumped water on the fire as 200 firefighters joined in the effort to protect homes and buildings.

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