Going into day No. 27 in September Brainerd has not yet seen a half-inch of rain and a small grass fire Wednesday provided a good reminder for Brainerd lakes area residents to be careful of the dry weather conditions.
As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, there was .47 of an inch of rainfall recorded at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
Mark Mortensen, Department of Natural Resources program forester, said the dry conditions have continued to keep the fire danger high in Crow Wing and southern Cass Counties. Mortensen said the DNR stopped issuing burning permits about a week ago, which has helped as the DNR has not responded to a lot of grass fires. Mortensen said the DNR in Bemidji to the north have not been as fortunate and have had to respond to more grass fires.
The Brainerd Fire Department and the DNR responded to a grass fire at 2:55 p.m. Wednesday on Ironwood Drive, near Three Mile Road, just east of Brainerd.
Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said about one acre burned and it was a rekindle from a fire that occurred a week ago. Stunek said last week someone was burning stumps in the area that caused the fire and Wednesday it began “to smolder, it got into the grass and took off,” said Stunek.
About a dozen full- and part-time firefighters responded to the grass fire.
Stunek said currently there are no burning restrictions in the city of Brainerd.
“The fire danger in Brainerd is between medium to high,” said Stunek. “When people are having a recreation fire they need to use caution and follow city and DNR fire regulations. People just can’t have a fire when they want too. It’s very dry and even though it gets cooler at night, it warms up during the day and that could spark a fire. We could use some rain.”
Mortensen said the higher fire danger is in the low ground areas, where peat could ignite or burn in a wooded area. Mortensen said workers, such as farmers or loggers who are working with heavy equipment which have the capability of causing a spark, need to be aware of their surroundings to make sure a fire is not started.
Mortensen said people can have recreation fires, but if they do, he advises that they are careful and that the area around it is clear and that the fire is completely out when they leave the area.
According to the seven-day forecast by the National Weather Service in Duluth, no rain is predicted for Brainerd. Temperature highs for the next seven days are expected to be in the low 70s during the day.