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A DNR forestry firefighter heads down into a blaze near Two Inlets Thursday night along the shores of Coborn Lake. The fire consumed much of the shoreline and banks. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Firefighters battle area grass fires

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Tinder dry conditions kept many fire departments in the region busy this week when field after field burst into flames.

Thursday night Park Rapids and DNR firefighters responded to a fire at the intersections of U.S. Highway 71 and County Road 41, which heads to Two Inlets in the northwest part of Hubbard County.

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The fire spread to the shores of Coborn Lake where it extinguished itself.

Up the hill from the water's banks, firefighters kept flames from spreading to a nearby home, owned by John Oman. Northerly winds carried the flames away from the residence.

His wooden boat was engulfed in flames; a wooden Adirondack chair burned, too.

Assistant Park Rapids Fire Chief Jeff Green said he couldn't speculate as to the cause.

Tuesday afternoon, Nevis firefighters responded to a grass fire that came within 75 feet of a residence off Highway 34, caused by a homeowner who'd dumped the ashes from his wood stove on a debris pile hours earlier.

"I guess there must have been some cinders still in there," said Romke Zylstra, who arrived home after running some errands to find smoke bellowing from his yard.

"I saw the smoke and thought my barn was on fire," Zylstra said. "The wife had already called the fire department."

The DNR issued Zylstra a citation for starting the fire.

The fire burned the grass up to Zykstra's yard and would have threatened the house if he hadn't caught it.

Tuesday night 40 firefighters from Carsonville, White Earth, the DNR and Wolf Lake battled a structure fire in Ponsford when two calls came in that fields nearby were also burning.

"It was an old store that burned," said Carsonville Fire Chief Roger Wilson. "It had been run down and fallen in. It was pretty dilapidated. Somebody set it on fire."

The blaze caused some damage to a nearby recycling shed, Wilson said.

He had already invoked a mutual aid agreement to bring in Wolf Lake, the White Earth Fire Department, White Earth Forestry and DNR Forestry when the two grass fires, one a half mile away and one a mile away, occurred at the same time.

"We had a lot of good help," Wilson said.

The three fires kept all 40 firefighters busy into the night.

Hubbard County Emergency Manager Brian Halbasch, who responded to the Nevis fire in his role as a part-time deputy, said the public needs to pay attention to burning bans in effect.

"People just have to use common sense," he said.

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