The weather on April 21, 1980 was unseasonably hot and dry. On that day a temperature of 91 degrees combined with a humidity of 18 percent to set the stage for a catastrophic fire. At approximately 12:20 pm. that sweltering afternoon, the historic Ekdall Church Fire began. Fueled by tinder dry conditions and a strong southwest wind, the Ekdall Church Fire consumed acre upon acre on its march to the Saint Croix River. At its peak, the Ekdall Church Fire was estimated to have been traveling nearly 2 1/2 miles per hour. The fire's destructive path was five miles long and, in some locations, nearly three miles wide. By days end, 4,654 acres of forest and wetlands were destroyed along with 73 structures. One of the structures destroyed was the historic Ekdall Church, from which the fire received its name.