Grass fires throughout area Wednesday, snow to fall Thursday
According to a report from the New York Mills Fire Department, grass fires were battled north and south of New York Mills simultaneously Wednesday afternoon.
The fire north of town took firefighters a few hours to knock down, with mutual aid from Perham, Wolf Lake and the Department of Natural Resources.
"That's where the helicopter came into play," NY Mills Fire Department member Maureen Kruchten said.
The department received a third call for a grass fire later in the evening, as well.
According to Kruchten, Ottertail, Vergas, Frazee, Detroit Lakes and Pelican Rapids Fire Departments may all have been out on grass fires Wednesday afternoon.
Smoke was reported region-wide in East Otter Tail and Becker Counties and many of the initial reports were attributed to the fires that recently struck Karlstad, Minn., with north to northeast winds bringing smoke down from the blaze that destroyed 11 homes, including seven mobile homes, two garages and 22 other outbuildings in and around Karlstad.
A post from WDAY-TV, on their Facebook page, later explained, "Smoke is being reported throughout western Minnesota and even into the Red River Valley. This smoke is from the grass fires in northwest Minnesota."
Smoke was reported as far west as Casselton, N.D. and as far east as Grand Rapids, Minn.
Rain overnight was welcomed and a chance at significant snowfall is still expected in the northern Red River Valley into northwestern Minnesota Thursday. Lighter amounts are expected elsewhere including in Fargo and potentially Otter Tail County.