BLAINE, Minn. (FOX 9) - State officials are warning Minnesotans that Spring fire season has begun and to be extra careful after a grassfire torched about 83 acres of public land Saturday in Blaine before it was put out by dozens of firefighters from several departments.
"Days like today, when it's sunny, windy, it's also going to be dry and that's prime for a wildfire to be able to pick up and quickly spread," Leanne Langeberg, a Public Information Officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said during a press conference after the fire was largely extinguished Saturday afternoon.
Firefighters with the Spring Lake Park - Blaine - Mounds View (SBM) Fire Department responded to calls of a grassfire at 11 a.m. Saturday, noticed a large plume of smoke rising from the area, and called in support from nearby agencies, according to SBM Fire Chief Dan Retka.
Firefighters with the MN DNR, the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service quickly joined the effort as authorities established a two-mile perimeter. Local departments attacked the fire from one side and the DNR focused on another, according to SBM Fire Batallion Chief Corry Vandeville.
"In the initial area where it started, it was very swampy and low lying ground. So we're thankful for the DNR and their response. They have several tracked vehicles that were able to get back in there and deliver water back into those far-reaching areas," Vandeville explained.
Five fixed-wing planes and a helicopter also assisted in the effort. No property was damaged and no one was injured.
Langeberg said that parts of central Minnesota are at high risk for wildfires this time of year.
"When you think about the grasses that have been under snow cover all winter long, they're very dry this time of year and very susceptible to drying out rapidly after a rainfall and very susceptible to one quick spark and a wildfire can take off. And in conditions like this, those wildfires can move very rapidly and quickly," she explained.
The DNR is monitoring drought conditions in the Western US to see if Minnesota might impact Minnesota. In the meantime, she urged residents to take fire safety precautions, like properly putting out campfires and composting yard waste.
"Limiting your use with any open flame is going to be what is really important and keep everyone safe," she said.
The fire prompted an evacuation at Victory Links Golf Course earlier in the day.