Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 15, 2003

Rain washes out burning ban in McLeod County

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Long-awaited rains Wednesday and Thursday eliminated a burning ban issued for McLeod County last Monday.

When the ban was announced, grass fires were becoming common in the area ­ two for the Lester Prairie Fire Department, and one for Winsted.

New Germany didn't have one recently.

"Knock on wood, we've been really quiet," said New Germany Fire Chief Steve Van Lith.

The only grass fire that Winsted had to deal with was Sept. 7 at Mike Drew's residence, north of Winsted near Lake Mary.

"That started with a burning barrel," said Winsted Fire Chief Chuck Kirby. "It got back into a swamp area." Fourteen firefighters responded to the call.

"We just ask that people use their best judgment, and ask that people don't have fires while the ban is in effect," Kirby said.

The Lester Prairie Fire Department made quick work of a ditch fire. The top of a pole along Zero Avenue rotted off, which dropped a line, and caused several sparks to fall into the grass, said Lester Prairie Fire Chief Jim Hoof.

"It's so dry, it doesn't take much to get one started," Hoof said. "The burning ban should be short, but we (the county fire chiefs) felt it had to be done in order to make people a little more cautious."

This is the second burning ban issued this year, with the last one being this past spring.

The ban prohibited all types of burning, includes barrell fires and recreational fires, with penalties for anyone who violated it.


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