Wildfire season officially underway
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.
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.