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Train sparks fire in peat bog

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Dry conditions and sparks from a passing train are believed to be the culprits in a fire Thursday that presented a challenge to area firefighters.

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A large plume of smoke from the fire carried high above the treetops in east Brainerd. The fire was reported about 5:30 p.m. in a peat bog in the Whitney Creek area by Red Pine Road, behind the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center.

Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek said there have been fires in the bog before. About 16 Brainerd firefighters with five rigs and four to six firefighters from the DNR responded to the scene. But the remote, rugged scene proved to be impossible to reach.

“We’ve had fires back there before,” Stunek said. “We just really couldn’t get to it with our track vehicles or anything.”

But a day without wind and a bog surrounded by water helped keep the fire from going anywhere. No structures were threatened, Stunek said. Friday, firefighters were going to seek air support to put the fire out.

“We can’t emphasize enough, it’s very dry,” Stunek said. “Be very careful. As dry as it is with the lack of snow, it’s a tinderbox right now.”

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.

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