Four fire departments responded to a large grass fire near England Prairie at the Moyer property on 141st Avenue in Verndale on Tuesday, April 23, at approximately 11:30 a.m. The farm field was being rented out and a pivot on an irrigator in the field was being repaired using a welder. The cornstalks in the field ignited and the fire was quickly driven by the wind. The Verndale Fire Department was assisted by the Wadena, Staples and Hewitt fire departments as well as the DNR helicopter as the fl

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On April 25, at 11:11 a.m., the Bertha Fire Department was called to the John Hershberger residence on 195th Avenue in rural Bertha for a grass fire. The fire was started by burning sawdust and slabwood, without a burning permit, that spread into the grass that scorched five acres. The fire department was on the scene for about two hours.

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On April 25, at 6:19 p.m. the Long Prairie Fire Department, assisted by the Browerville Fire Department, was called to the Joe Prill property on County Road 30 for a grass fire. Prill reported to the fire department he was preparing to cook a steak on an open fire when the grass caught fire and burned through old buildings, an old collapsed barn and a salvage car and into the neighbor’s property. The fire scorched approximately an acre and a half. Fire crews were on the scene for three hours.

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Four fire departments responded to a large grass fire near England Prairie at the Moyer property on 141st Avenue in Verndale on Tuesday, April 23, at approximately 11:30 a.m. The farm field was being rented out and a pivot on an irrigator in the field was being repaired using a welder. The cornstalks in the field ignited and the fire was quickly driven by the wind. The Verndale Fire Department was assisted by the Wadena, Staples and Hewitt fire departments as well as the DNR helicopter as the fl

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Open burning is restricted

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Warm temperatures and dry conditions mean increased wildfire risk, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict open burning in the following counties effective immediately: Douglas, Grant, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Aitkin, Becker, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mahnomen, Otter Tail and Wadena.

The state will not issue burning permits for brush or yard waste in these counties until restrictions are lifted.

“Escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires, so that’s why we issue these restrictions,” said Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor. “They really work—we’ve reduced wildfires by nearly a third since we started spring burning restrictions in 2001.”

McCoy encourages residents to use alternatives to burning, such as composting, chipping, or taking brush to a collection site. For information on how to compost yard debris, visit the DNR’s guide to composting yard debris.

People who burn debris will be held financially responsible if their fire escapes and burns other property.

Burning restrictions will be adjusted, including extension of restrictions to additional counties, as conditions change. For information and daily updates on current fire risk and open burning restrictions, visit the Minnesota DNR website.

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