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Arson likely cause of County 27 Fire (Karlstad), reward offered

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Fire investigators have determined that the probable cause of a major wildfire in Kittson and Marshall Counties in northwestern Minnesota was arson. An investigation is ongoing by the Kittson County Sheriff, the Marshall County Sheriff and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.They are offering a reward of up to $6,000 for information leading to identification of the arsonist.

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Anyone with information on the County 27 fire is encouraged to contact either the Kittson County Sheriff at 218-843-3535 or the Marshall County Sheriff at 218-745-5411. For those who wish to remain anonymous, call the Arson Tip Line at 1-800-723-2020.

The wildfire started Sept. 30, at about 2 p.m. in Marshall County north of the intersection of County Road 27 and 250th Avenue NW. By the next day, it had grown to 500 acres. On Oct. 2, there were Red Flag Fire Warnings for western Minnesota and states and provinces to the west and north. Temperatures were in the 70s, relative humidity exceptionally low - in the teens and sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph.

The Red Flag fire danger conditions led to fast moving fires that burned with extreme intensity. The County 27 Fire spread from Marshall County to Kittson County, burned 4,440 acres, led to the evacuation of part of the city of Karlstad, damaged dozens of structures and destroyed 11 homes.

The coordinated efforts of local fire departments, wildland firefighters, sheriff's offices, emergency managers, and the National Guard were instrumental in saving most of the homes in Karlstad.

Fires started by arsonists cost Minnesota taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The cost to those who lost homes is immeasurable. Please help stop arson

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