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Menahga farm has two fires during weekend

Menahga firefighters use hoes and hoses to knock down a fire in a pile of corn stalks Friday on a farm off Wadena County Road 23 east of Menahga. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

The Menahga Fire Department responded to two different fires during the weekend on the same turkey and beef farm off Wadena County Road 23.

The first fire was called in at approximately 1:40 p.m. Friday when a pile of corn stalks, intended to be mixed with French fries and other ingredients to feed beef cattle, ignited in the warm, dry wind.

Menahga Fire Chief Dave Kicker said that the cause of Friday’s fire was still under investigation.

Fire personnel arrived on the scene at approximately 1:50 to 1:55 p.m. Responding were 12 Menahga firefighters, 10 more from Sebeka who were quickly released, six personnel from Department of Natural Resources forestry, and two Hubbard County Sheriff’s deputies.

Apparatus at the scene included a pumper, two tankers and two brush trucks. Firefighters sprayed approximately 10,000 gallons of water on the heap of corn stalks to put it out.

“Everything went really well,” said Kicker. “We all worked really well, all the departments together. The fire stayed in the pile. We really lucked out because they said if it had caught a month ago, there would have been 10 times as much on the pile.”

Adding to the activity around Friday’s fire scene was a large flock of seagulls, which Kicker said probably came to eat French fries off the adjacent fields. Birds were continually landing and taking off to circle around the column of heat and smoke over the fire.

The fire was quickly put out, and the scene was cleared by about 3 p.m.

Menahga Fire & Rescue responded Sunday afternoon to another fire on the same farm. This time, Kicker said, the fire caught in a slash pile that had been burned six weeks ago and continued to smolder until it reignited in the wind.

The DNR stirred the brush with a local contractor’s bulldozer while firefighters soaked it down, he said.

Eight or nine firefighters responded to Sunday’s brush fire, including three from Park Rapids giving mutual aid while Menahga’s forces were spread thin. At the same time, Menahga fire was assisting at another fire in the Sebeka area.

Kicker advised the public to check www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html for burning restrictions and the level of fire danger before doing any burning.

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