Grass burns get out of control

Published 10:45 am Friday, April 2, 2010

A grass fire sparked up in Mower County near Austin on Thursday afternoon. Firefighters responded to a fire along railroad tracks near U.S. Highway 218 and Mower County Road 28. Red flag warnings that indicate fire concerns were issued by the National Weather Service earlier this week and have since ended. Still, fire concerns remained for this dry spring. Rainstorms forecast for today are expected to ease the worries.

— Albert Lea Tribune

Strong winds and dry conditions have fueled a rash of brush fires in Cerro Gordo County this week.

Email newsletter signup

“We’re getting tired of the calls,” said Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals.

“They are burning when the wind is too high. That’s the big thing and then they don’t have enough help there to burn it.”

Pals said the county received six calls Wednesday about controlled burns which got away from residents.

On Wednesday “we answered three calls to the same area,” Pals said. “The same farmer was burning his corn fields off.”

Pals said residents thinking about burning off a field should contact law enforcement to let them know that the fire is a controlled burn.

Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board Executive Director Fred Heinz said fire has an unpredictable nature.

“One minute it can be just tame and then it can become an out-of-control fire in just minutes,” Heinz said. “You have to have a lot of respect for fire.”

Mason City Fire Department Fire Marshal Mark Christiansen said open burning is not permitted in Mason City.

Heinz said conservation personnel were burning fields Thursday morning but stopped when the winds kicked up.