Karlstad fire was arson, DNR saysby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
MOORHEAD, Minn. — DNR investigators say a wildfire that destroyed homes in the northwest Minnesota town of Karlstad was deliberately set.
DNR fire investigator Jason Kern says evidence at the source of the fire clearly points to arson. That means someone purposely set the fire.
"Each thing the fire touches leaves a certain indicator that tells us where the fire spread, how it spread. We track all of those things back to what we call the origin point where the fire started. So we use all the physical evidence on scene to do that. The first responders to the scene also tell us where the fire was," Kern said.
Investigators are looking for leads from people who live in the area, Kern said.
"Did the public see anything unusual? A vehicle that didn't seem like it should be in the area. Has anybody bragged about it at the local establishment? Those type of leads help us do interviews and hopefully maybe track down an actual suspect," Kern said.
There is a $6,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. So far officials say they've spend about $2.6 million fighting the wildfires that hit a number of counties in northwestern Minnesota. That number is expected to increase.
The DNR says the fire damaged dozens of structures and destroyed 11 homes.