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Wadena County fire burns several acres in state forest, causes minimal damage

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A grass fire burnt several acres near a home in Lyons State Forest Tuesday afternoon, searing the vinyl siding off of a shed but doing no other structural damage.

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The rural Wadena County blaze (22398 Wilderness Drive) was reported at 3:49 p.m. With the help of a crew from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Nimrod Forestry Field Station, Sebeka firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within an hour.

“It got in the swamp but we stopped it,” Sebeka Fire Chief Bill Wilson said before hopping in his truck to head back to town around 4:45 p.m.

The fire blackened acres of land, coming within 50 yards of a home and charring the base of some pine trees along the scenic gravel road. After the firefighters left the scene, two men emerged from the house to survey the damage, but declined to comment and refused access to the property.

It wasn’t the county’s first grass fire of the year, but it was the first one for the Sebeka Fire Department, which provides service for vast stretches of sparsely populated forest land, Wadena County Sheriff Mike Carr said..

“We’re definitely getting geared up for the fire season now,” he said.

As the snow melt creates dry conditions, the DNR is implementing burning restrictions throughout central Minnesota. Close to home, the agency stopped issuing burning permits to residents of Todd and Otter Tail counties on Monday. Next Monday, that restriction will extend to Wadena, Becker, Hubbard, Morrison and southern Cass counties.

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