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Fires rage on both sides of the border, no rain in sight

Credit: US Forest Service

ELY, MN -- The heavy haze over the Northland skies continues to creep south as the wind blows smoke from Canadian wildfires burning in Ontario and Manitoba.

Bigger fires in Canada are to blame for the air quality and haze, but we still have four fires still burning locally in Minnesota.

RELATED: MPCA: Canadian wildfires impact air quality in Duluth, Iron Range, North Shore

Fire crews have been hard at work in Ely preparing for a possible worsening situation.

“The reality is we have a long fire season ahead of us,” said Catherine Koele, Public Information Officer for the eastern area incident management team.

Koele has been at the heels of a busy fire season in northern Minnesota.

She said teams have come from across the country to fight the fires.

“We move resources from areas in the country that aren't experiencing fire activity, we have a crew from Pennsylvania since they've been getting a lot rain,” said Koele.

Nearly 150 people are on scene, and with little places to stay, some of them are sleeping in tents.

Koele said the haze and smoke that has been lingering across the Northland is caused by large fires in central and western Canada.

“We have been seeing more smoke which is good from a fire prevention standpoint, it definitely gets people interested in what's happening,” said Koele.

Meanwhile, there are several fires burning in the Quetico region in Canada just across the border that Koele is keeping an eye on.

“We're monitoring five different wildfires on the Canadian side, we've been having talks and contingency plans should those fires cross onto US soil,” said Koele.

Koele's hands are full with the current fire situations but continue to "worry" what could come of the ones crossing the border.

She added they are taking it one day at a time.

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Meteorologist Alex Libby

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