A wildfire is essential an uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels over a large area. Wildfires can be caused by natural causes such as lightning, but are often times caused by human. There are essentially 4 types of wildfire or stages of wildfire:
Ground fire is the starting of a wildfire and usually due to the small size of the fire, it may be difficult to detect until it has reached the surface stage. The surface fire generally burns approximately 4 feet in height and the difficulty of extinguishing the fire is associated with potential nearby fuels.
Once a fire begins burning the tops of trees it is known as a crown fire. This fire can be extremely difficult to control due to winds which may cause spotting.
Spotting is caused by the throwing or blowing of large embers of crown fire or surface fire ahead of a wildfire. Spotting makes the controlling of a fire extremely difficult depending on wind speeds, etc.
Though limited information regarding the history of wildfire is available for Wadena County, there is potential for such an event as witnessed by neighboring Todd and Hubbard County residents in 1980 and 1976.
Largest Fires Recorded in Minnesota
2000: Carlos Edge fire burned 8,000 acres, destroyed over 4 structures, and endangered the towns of Linnwood, Stacy and Wyoming.
1980: Motley fire burned 6,800 acres, destroyed over 20 structures, and endangered the towns of Motley and Phillbrook.
1977: Wildland fires destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland and millions of dollars in homes and improved property. Suppression costs that year totaled around $25 million.
1976: Badoura fire burned 23,000 acres and a dozen buildings in just 6 hours.