Controlled burn destroys home in Litchfield, Minnesota

A woman in Litchfield, Minnesota, accidentally burned her home down Monday after a brush fire she lit reignited and spread quickly, sending the property up in flames in a matter of minutes.

The 63-year-old did everything correctly and even double-checked to make sure the fire was out, authorities say, but was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"She controlled it and she did what she was supposed to do, [it was] just a bad set of circumstances for this," said Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze. "The past week or so we’ve had some very tough, dry conditions, so that probably didn’t help the situation at all either."

The wind likely picked up an ember from the original fire and blew it into the house, Cruze said. The house was under renovation at the time and did not have access to water. The owner had returned to mowing her lawn when the incident occurred, and could do nothing but watch and wait for help to arrive. 

The DNR issued dangerous fire condition warnings in April, but on Monday homeowners were supposedly in the clear. With conditions still dry and breezy this week despite some rain on the way, the Meeker County Sheriff now warns all homeowners to remain vigilant--red flag warning or not.

“Make sure you’re watching those fires, make sure they’re put out," Cruze said. "Put water on top of them and just make that extra effort to make sure the water is put out before you walk away from it."

Though the home is total loss, the woman does have another property she’s been living in during the remodel.