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A garage fire Wednesday evening on south Highway 71 in Park Rapids was quickly extinguished by firefighters. (Submitted photo)

Early spring grass fires have Hubbard County officials on alert

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The warm weather and rapid snow melt have put the firefighters on "red alert."

Several grass fires and a garage fire have sprung up around Hubbard County in the last few days.

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"We expect to be working this weekend," Mark Carlstrom, Department of Natural Resources area forest supervisor, said of impending fire danger. "We hope there are no fires, but we're staffed and ready."

He urges strong caution, having just returned from a fire that spread across a mowed lawn Wednesday. "If you can postpone burning, it's a prudent decision."

Carlstrom advises following up on any outdoor burning done during the winter months. "Make sure it's cold." Fires of this nature can hold heat for months, he said.

Don't throw ashes into tall grass, he urges of seemingly "dead" fire residue. The DNR is called to several fires of this nature every spring. "Let the ashes sit in a bucket two or three weeks" before disposing.

Burning permits are currently being issued, "but fuels are very, very dry, drier than normal."

Fires, Carlstrom said, will be hotter than to what most are accustomed.

"Expect longer flame length, more heat and faster spreads than what would normally occur."

Wednesday afternoon a grass/brush fire burned between 10 and 20 acres off of County Road 111 in Hubbard County, said Park Rapids assistant fire chief Mike Ridlon.

Wednesday evening at about 5:45 p.m. a garage fire started on Highway 71 south in the city of Park Rapids. The fire was extinguished before it reached the house. Ridlon said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Firefighters were called to another grass fire Thursday afternoon on Henrietta Avenue north.

People are urged to use common sense with the dry conditions.

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