BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Fire crews from several Twin Cities agencies spent most of Wednesday morning battling a grass fire in Brooklyn Center that burned about 50 acres.
The Brooklyn Park Fire Department received a report of the fire at about 9:30 a.m. near 73rd and Boone. The fire was in a set of wetlands east of the Timberland Buildings and west of County Road 81 off Interstate 94.
There were some businesses on the outer perimeter of the swampy area, but authorities said no businesses were threatened in the fire.
Crews said the fact that the fire was in a swamp proved to be a challenge.
“It’s a challenge for firefighters because you can only reach the fire to a certain point on foot. So they’ve contacted air support,” said Todd Milburn of the Brooklyn Park Police. “It’s a combination approach, really, to attack it from a number of different angles.”
Firefighters attacked the fire from above, using aircraft to drop water, which Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Ken Prillaman said stopped the fire from spreading.
“Without the air drop we probably would have lost another 50 acres. That land stretches to 694,” he said.
No injuries have been reported.
Because of our warm, dry spring, burning restrictions are currently in place for much of Minnesota until the vegetation turns green.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, there have been about three times more grass fires in Minnesota than average for this time of year (325 total, compared to 104), with nearly twice as many acres burned. About 7,250 acres have burned this season so far.
“We have a tremendous amount of dry fuel and until it greens up, gets moisture in it we’ve got a very heavy fire load,” said Chief Prillaman. “Be care about extinguishing cigarettes or campfires anywhere near this kind of brush because it’s very dry, and there is a lot of it.”
DNR fire crews on scene estimate the fire is 95 percent out and they will return Thursday morning to make sure the remaining hot spots are out.
“Already this year we have been responding to fires since the beginning of February. Then, there was a little respite with snow, and March we were right back at it, like winter never happened,” said Zack Rethlake, who led the fire response from the DNR.
Included in the assistance were the following agencies: Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo, Fridley, Anoka Champlin, Brooklyn Center, Dayton, West Metro, Rogers, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Salvation Army, State Patrol and the BNSF Railroad.
The Brooklyn Park Police and Fire Investigators have questioned three juveniles who were in the area just before the fire began but according to Prillaman, the cause of the fire is not known and is still under investigation.