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Firefighters, DNR scramble to keep up with fires

Brainerd firefighters try to extinguish a fire that totally destroyed a shed Fri

Several grass fires ignited Friday in the Brainerd lakes area, sending firefighters and foresters with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scrambling to contain them.

About a dozen Brainerd firefighters and the DNR responded to a grass fire at 2:58 p.m. Friday on 12774 Crow Wing County 23, south of Brainerd. The grass fire made its way to a small abandoned garage and it caught fire. The garage was a total loss.

Mark Mortensen, DNR program forester, said there were a few grass fires in the lakes area that included a fire that jumped the road on Tuck Road and Crow Wing County Road 30 in Aitkin on Thursday and it ignited again on Friday. The Cuyuna Fire Department responded to this fire. There also was a grass fire near Garrison.

Mortensen said with high winds expected Saturday, he strongly urges people to use extreme caution when dealing with small recreation fires. The DNR has burning restrictions in place for central Minnesota, which includes the counties of Crow Wing, Aitkin, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, Wadena, southern Cass or the portion south of Highway 200, which means the DNR will not issue any burning permits. However, people can still have a small recreation fire.

“We have not had the ability to restrict recreation fires, but people need to be in attendance of their fire at all times,” said Mortensen. “And they need to be there until it is completely out.”

Fire danger for the counties of Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin and Morrison was listed as moderate Friday. Wadena County was in a high fire danger zone. Counties in a moderate fire danger zone are where fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate.

In other fire calls, Brainerd firefighters responded to a chimney fire reported at 10:33 a.m. Friday on the 900 block of Anabec Street in Brainerd. The fire was caused from lack of maintenance. About 10 firefighters responded and cleared the scene at 11:01 a.m.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at