Dryness, wind create perfect storm for grass fires
Crews tackled three grass fires near Perham over the weekend. The fires likely sparked from a train, a cigarette butt and ash from a recreational fire, though dry and windy conditions are a contributing factor, as well. No one was hurt in the fir...
Crews tackled three grass fires near Perham over the weekend.
The fires likely sparked from a train, a cigarette butt and ash from a recreational fire, though dry and windy conditions are a contributing factor, as well.
No one was hurt in the fires, and no structures were burned down.
Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt said the department received its first report of a grass fire on Friday at 9:45 p.m.
The fire burned about five acres along County Road 60 in Gorman Township, one mile north of Hwy. 10, before being extinguished. A cigarette butt thrown out of a car window is believed to have caused the fire.
"That one was rolling pretty good," said Schmidt. "We had some 8 to 10 foot flames on that fire, and the guys did a really good job knocking that fire down quick before it got down into the river bottom."
Another grass fire was reported Saturday at 1 p.m. This one started near the railroad tracks along County Road 80 just north of the Perham Stockyards. Schmidt said a passing train likely kicked off a spark.
Later that afternoon, at about 3:30 p.m., another grass fire was reported. This one burned up about five acres north of Little McDonald Lake on 460th Street.
This fire came within a foot of a storage building on the property. Schmidt said the homeowner had a recreational fire a few days earlier; high winds kicked some ash loose, sparking the grass fire.
"It's that dry," he said. "Even with the rain we got on Saturday morning."
Schmidt said grass fires will remain an ongoing problem for as long as the dry and windy weather persist.
In the meantime, he advises, "Use a lot of care" when doing any sort of burning, and always check with the Minnesota DNR for information on current fire restrictions and burning permits.
"The area fire departments are really working together, along with the DNR, in getting after the fires right away," said Schmidt.