Fire damages 30 acres of corn

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

BRICELYN — Thirty acres of corn were damaged by fire Thursday afternoon after a mechanical problem in a combine reportedly sparked a blaze.

According to Bricelyn Fire Chief Craig Stallkamp, the fire began near the intersection of 40th Street and 540th Avenue, southeast of Bricelyn at about 1 p.m.

Stallkamp said with dry weather and high winds the fire spread quickly, and Kiester firefighters were called in to assist.

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Together, the Bricelyn and Kiester firefighters battled the fire for about two hours, he estimated.

No one was injured.

The corn was owned by farmer Darren Anderson. Stallkamp was unsure whether Anderson owned the land or if he was renting the property.

Stallkamp warned people to be aware of how quickly fires can spread with high winds.

Winds on Thursday in Bricelyn were between 14 and 21 mph, with wind gusts as high as 31 mph.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, with updates released Thursday, places 20 percent of Minnesota in extreme drought. Nearly all of the rest of the state is listed in severe or moderate drought.

The extreme area includes all of Faribault County where the fire took place. All of the counties to the west of Faribault County in that tier are in extreme drought, as are Waseca, Blue Earth, Nicollet, Brown, Watonwan, Cottonwood and parts of Murray and Pipestone counties. The western half of Freeborn County is listed as extreme drought, along with the London and Lyle areas.

The other area of Minnesota listed as extreme is in the northwest part of the state, hitting counties such as Red Lake, Pennington, Polk, Norman, Marshall and Roseau.

To the south, about 75 percent of Iowa is considered extreme drought, including Worth and Winnebago counties.