The forecast of hot, dry and windy looks to persist for at least the next week. Conditions in the region have not improved enough to slow the ongoing threat of fire danger.
Wadena County emergency staff were busy chasing down out of control fires over the weekend and into the start of the work week. They ask people to take caution to avoid igniting fires.
Wadena County Sheriff's Office reported the following fires since May 30, with a sixth still actively burning Tuesday afternoon near Menahga:
Sunday, May 30
OYLEN -- At approximately 1:26 p.m., the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a grass fire off of County 9 at Wilderness Drive, section 23 of Lyons Township.
Upon arrival, there appeared to be a large section of grass that was burning on the north side of County Road 9 to the east of Wilderness Drive. At that time, a large number of bystanders were already on scene working together to put out different areas of the fire. Members of the Sebeka Fire Department arrived on scene.
The Deputy on scene spoke with local property owner along with others who passed by on their ATV’s and first noticed the grass starting to burn. No one was injured at the scene and the grass fire was quickly extinguished. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Assisting on scene was the Sebeka Fire Department, Lakewood Health Ambulance on standby along with several members of the public.
NIMROD -- At about 1:39 PM, the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a structure fire in section 2 of Orton Township.
The Sebeka Fire Department arrived on scene along with Menahga Fire Department for mutual aid. Law Enforcement arrived on scene to find a smaller, barn style shed caught fire. The deputy observed a riding lawnmower along with other mechanical equipment burning amongst the rubble.
The deputy spoke with the property owner who explained they were using their riding lawn mower that was put inside the shed when the mowing was done. The homeowner heard a loud squealing noise coming from the bearings and shortly after, the mower started on fire and spread throughout the shed.
No one was injured at the scene and the structure fire was completely extinguished. Assisting was the Sebeka Fire Department, Menahga Fire Department as mutual aid, and Lakewood Health Ambulance.
SEBEKA -- At about 8 p.m., the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a vehicle that was on fire in the area of 294th Street and 135th Ave., just north of Sebeka.
The Sebeka Fire Department and law enforcement arrived on scene to find a 2001 Chevrolet Impala fully engulfed in flames.
Deputies spoke with the vehicle driver/owner who stated the vehicle was supposed to be dropped off at the scrap yard but they had not done that yet. They stated they were driving the vehicle when it started to have problems and smoke. The vehicle then lit on fire.
The driver was able to escape the vehicle, unharmed. The vehicle was a complete loss as well as the personal property that was located inside of the vehicle.
Assisting on scene was the Sebeka Fire Department, Sebeka Police Department, Tri-County Ambulance and K&K Towing.
Monday, May 31
OYLEN -- At approximately 6:25 p.m., the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a grass fire that had spread into the pine trees, in section 15 of Bullard township, which is in the Lyons State Forest.
Deputies arrived to find grass and trees on fire. The fire appeared to have started from a pile of hot charcoal that was dumped in the woods after it was used in a grill. Approximately 1.5 acres of woodland burned in the incident.
The Wadena County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Staples Fire department and MN DNR forestry division.
Tuesday, June 1
STAPLES -- At about 12:20 p.m. the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a fire located in section 10 of Thomastown Township.
Upon arrival of Staples Fire Department, it was learned that garbage, rubbish, and debris around the yard and outbuildings were on fire. A deputy spoke with the property owner who claimed that he was cutting grass with a weed whipper when he set it down and went into the house. The property owner stated a short time later he looked outside and observed the fire. No weed whipper was located where the property owner stated the fire would have originated.
The property owner was cited for negligent or careless act causing a fire. MN DNR Forestry and Staples Fire Department extinguished the fire hastily, which burned approximately 5 acres of grass and other personal property.
Staples Fire Department, MN DNR Forestry and the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office all responded to this incident.