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Boreal Community Media

Inside Greenwood: A first look at damage caused by Minnesota’s largest wildfire in years

Oct 23, 2021 05:21AM ● By Editor
Photo: KBJR-TV

By Dan Wolfe of KBJR-TV - October 21, 2021

The Greenwood Fire is almost entirely contained and down to a slight smolder tonight.

That's remarkable progress, given a couple months ago the largest wildfire in Minnesota in years was burning a huge swath of Superior National Forest, taking 14 homes and cabins with it, and damaging 3 others.

Patrick Prochaska's cabin is one of the three damaged, but most of his property is destroyed.

"It's a nice place," said Prochaska.

Giving a tour of the damage, Prochaska stayed positive, keeping a glass-half-full approach.


"The heat melted this siding here but didn't blow up the propane tank," said Prochaska.

Prochaska bought these 18 acres next to McDougal Lake in 2001.

He and his family make the drive up from the Twin Cities many times a year, enjoying the wildlife and solitude of northern Minnesota.

"We really love it and it's a good place to get away."

Sadly, when the Greenwood Fire broke out several miles to the south, it quickly spread right for McDougal.

On August 22nd while in the Twin Cities, Prochaska got word his cabin could be in danger.

"I came home from work Sunday night and people were saying they saw fire on the east side of McDougal Lakes and I turned on the cameras," said Prochaska.

From 230 miles away, Prochaska watched flames engulf his property.

"Very much scary and frightening and mouth opened you know. I was just watching some of these trees going up and like oh my god."

He then had to wait two days to get word from the Sheriff that his cabin was still standing.


Prochaska said he felt fortunate, but also pointed out that he and his family had been vigilant clearing out dead trees and other plants close to the house that could easily burn. That effort likely saved the cabin.

Prochaska's plans to rebuild some of what was lost early next year, when he hopes new plant life also emerges on his property.

"Hope comes in spring you know and we'll see what's here and alive."


To watch the video version of this story, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.