Grass fire season is on | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Grass fire season is on

Posted: May 2, 2013 - 5:34pm

Brainerd firefighters have been on the move — fighting three grass fires since Wednesday night.

The largest grass fire was reported at 2:26 p.m. Thursday on 16164 Mile Circle, off of Crow Wing County Highway 77 north of Baxter.

Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said six acres burned in a wooded area. About a dozen firefighters responded, as well as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Stunek said there were about three or four structures near the grass fire, but none of them were threatened.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Stunek.

“This is just another case of how dry it is,” said Stunek. “People need to be very careful. Even though the snow just left us, it’s really dry ... Grass fire season is here.”

Stunek asks Brainerd lakes area residents that if they see any smoke or fire to call 911 right away. He said people shouldn’t wait to call or to go check out the fire first.

“This is what the fire department is here for,” said Stunek. “By not calling right away only makes the fire get bigger and more out of control.”

Brainerd firefighters also responded to a grass fire at 5:57 p.m. Wednesday at 6436 Crow Wing County Road 45. Stunek said about an acre burned and a small shed. Stunek said the fire started from an old fire burner.

Firefighters also responded to a grass fire at 12:25 a.m. Thursday in the area behind Menards in Baxter. About one to two acres burned and firefighters cleared the scene at 1:20 p.m.

Firefighters also responded to a vehicle fire at 1:27 a.m. Thursday at 1315 Pine St., Brainerd.

Fire danger for Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Aitkin and Wadena counties were listed as moderate Thursday, meaning fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate. The DNR reports that counties in a moderate fire danger area will see that fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Wood fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but would not be persistent. Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.

The DNR previously announced burning restrictions for central Minnesota, including Crow Wing County, that will go into effect at 8 a.m. Monday. The DNR also reminds residents that permits are required for open burning and those permits have limitations. An open burning permit is required for any fire larger than 3-feet in diameter and when the ground is not covered by at least 3-inches of snow.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl.