Weekend wildfires serve as a reminder; use caution
Photo courtesy DNR
Burning permits cancelled
by Gary King
BURNETT COUNTY - Two weekend wildfires, including one that destroyed a car, serve as a reminder as to how dry conditions are in light of the lack of rain.
"This was the driest September on record at the Grantsburg Ranger Station since 1952," said Jay Riewestahl, DNR ranger. "People are out working, hunting, recreating and cutting firewood and they need to know to use caution when it comes to causing a wildfire."
All burning permits have been cancelled, Riewestahl said.
The DNR and local firefighters responded to two fires on Saturday, Sept. 29, including a fire that started when local cabin-owners parked in a grassy area in the Town of Sterling just north of 28th Ave. The muffler was hot enough to ignite the grass, the fire consuming the vehicle. The owner of the car called 911 and the DNR and Cushing Fire Department responded. The 1 p.m. fire consumed two-tenths of an acre.
"The fire would have been bigger but there was a wind from the north and that pushed it toward the driveway which held it on two sides," Riewestahl noted.
As DNR firefighters were heading back to their station in Grantsburg at approximately 3 p.m. they were called to a second fire at 24288 La Ra Road in the Town of Wood River. A hunter had rebuilt a deer stand and burned the old boards out in the woods. Despite the fact a fire ring was used, the fire burrowed under the ground and surfaced, consuming about one acre. A neighbor who smelled smoke called the fire in to authorities.
Riewestahl said there is no soil moisture and actually no morning dew the past few days. He said even if the area gets rain later this week, it would only help the dryness situation for a day or two.
"We'll take all the rain we can get," he said. "But we know it's going to be short-term relief.
He reminded those venturing out into the woods to be careful where they park and to extinguish an campfires completely, using water.