by HANNAH BROADBENT
A 60-acre swamp fire that swept across an area just north of Watertown last week sparked concerns of fire safety in the area.
“Because of the early spring and then the lack of snow we had earlier this year that kind of opened up the dangers in our area to an even quicker season that we normally see,” said Watertown Fire Chief Wade Stock.
The DNR updates fire restrictions regularly. Most recently they expanded burning restrictions from central Minnesota to most of the state.
“They (DNR) have everything at a high danger right now,” Stock said. “We rely on early spring rain.”
Stock says once the area sees more rain and the grass gets greener the restrictions start to lift. Until then the fire department is on high alert and recommends the community should be as well.
These spring fires are due to the recent snow melt according to Stock.
“We don’t have a lot of moisture in the ground,” Stock said. “We just have naturally dry conditions right now.”
According to the DNR the lowest fire danger rating in the state at the end of last week was “moderate”. While the majority of Minnesota was seeing a “high” fire danger and the southwest corner was marked “very high”.
Stock said these spring fires are “just a matter of when.”
“Always watch where you’re burning,” Stock said.
Three by three contained bonfires are allowed. Stock says even with smaller fires always remember to have a water supply near, be aware of your surroundings and “nothing high winds”.
“Don’t take any chances,” Stock said.
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