Juvenile arrested in Cass County fire Wednesday
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reports that on May 28, 2014 at approximately 1:31 PM the
Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a fire in Pike Bay Township approximately 1
mile south-west of Cass Lake. Officers responded and located a large fast moving wildfire in
a pine forest with a significant amount of blow down material.
Ten residences were evacuated along the Nary Road (156th St NW) in Cass County. Local
fire department engines protected the residences in close proximity to the fire. No damage
to these residences has been reported. Some abandoned outbuildings were burned. The fire
consumed approximately 76 acres, about a half mile long and a quarter mile wide. The fire
was contained at approximately 5:30 PM with a bulldozer line.
Numerous agencies responded to assist with the wildfire, including DNR Forestry, U.S. Forest
Service, Leech Lake Department of Resources Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and
Conservation Corps of MN. In addition, eight fire departments provided structure protection
including Cass Lake, Bemidji, Lakeport, Hackensack, Walker, Backus, Blackduck and Solway.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, Leech
Lake Tribal Police Department, Pike Bay Police Dept, and the MN State Patrol. Aerial support
included an aerial coordination unit, two CL215 water scooping aircraft and 2 helicopters
with water buckets, and several dozers and other tracked vehicles. The Salvation Army and
Leech Lake Band of Ojibew assisted with food and refreshments at the Pike Bay Town Hall.
Sheriff Tom Burch and MN DNR Incident Commander Greg Vollhaber reported that incident
communications were very effective. The ARMER 800MHZ radio system provided the
connection between multiple responding Federal, State, County and local agencies.
The investigation revealed a juvenile male who was located in close proximity to the fire
scene and was taken into custody. Arson is suspected as the cause of the fire, however the
investigation continues with the cooperation of the MN DNR Fire Investigation Teams.