Firefighters struggle to battle blaze due to river flooding near Bloomington

Firefighters battling wildfires across the southern Twin Cities metro Sunday were also struggling against a second foe—flooding.

A perfect storm of whipping winds and low humidity made it a rough weekend for local fire departments who issued red flag warnings Saturday and were out fighting multiple grass fires throughout the day Sunday, but perhaps the toughest blaze for authorities to control was located in the Minnesota River Bottoms between Normandale Boulevard and France Avenue in Bloomington.

It was nearly inaccessible due to high water levels in the area, though U.S. Fish and Wildlife firefighters were forced to wade through knee-high water in areas to reach the fire. All the while, heavy winds were blowing smoke from the blaze northward into Bloomington, according to the city's fire department.

“I could see flames through the binoculars and I’d say they were three-to-four feet high at some point,” said David Dreckman, who lives nearby and was keeping track of the fire. "It would seem to die off, grow in intensity and go back down again. With it being such a windy day it seems to be fueling that fire.”

Ultimately, first responders were able to reach the fire by boat and had it nearly extinguished by 8:00 p.m. Sunday night.

Officials say it's unclear what started the fire--or even several others around Minnesota, for that matter. 

Most of the red flag warnings in the Twin Cities area are set to expire at some point Sunday night.