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A Brainerd firefighter sprayed water on a burning woodpile on the Gull River Roa

Wildfire season officially underway

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The wildfire season started Wednesday in Crow Wing County with a small grass fire on Gull River Road off Gull Lake Dam Road. 

The fire, reported shortly before 2 p.m., burned less than an acre of an open grass field surrounded by woods. A few small canopy sheds and wood piles on the property also were burned, but firefighters from Brainerd and the DNR stopped its spread to nearby structures and the surrounding woods. 

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Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said the fire started with a brush fire that was blown by the wind. Stunek said the grass fire was the first for his department this year, and Mark Mortensen, DNR program forester at the Brainerd field office, said it was the first for the year in Crow Wing County. This year’s wildfire season is about two weeks behind the state’s 2010 season.

Because of the snow melt and warmer temperatures, Stunek said recreational fires are banned in Brainerd until further notice. Mortensen said the DNR has not yet placed restrictions on burning but they could be coming soon. 

For the time being, Mortensen advised people to use caution when burning. 

“We still have snow in the woods but open areas are bare and if we have a warm, sunny day there’s a chance for fire to spread through those open grass areas,” Mortensen said. 

The fire danger across the state is listed as law by the DNR but burning permits are required whenever there is less than 3 inches of continuous snow surrounding the burn area.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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