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Grassfire Chars 80 Acres Near MN State Park

October 8, 2012, 9:49 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Grassfire Chars 80 Acres Near MN State Park

Fire crews near Marshall, Minnesota, battled flames at a state park for hours Monday.  It started along a roadside north of Russell, Minnesota, and quickly spread into Camden State Park.

“This one's big.  This was a huge fire, with the terrain and the fight and what we have to do to get it put out, it's a lot harder.  Usually it's flat land, your cornfield fires; you get equipment in and get it put out. This one is all man power,” Russell Volunteer Fire Chief Brad Hodges said.

A mid-afternoon call drove dozens of volunteer fire fighters to Camden State Park, fighting a fire fueled by crisp grasslands and high winds.

“It makes it interesting. It really can blow the fire across the grass,” Marshall Volunteer Fire Fighter Mark Antony said.

“Something on the road with the wind, and it could start about anywhere, blow around with the back burn all the time,” Hodges said. “We don't know where it started definitely for sure yet.”

By evening the flames were under control.  Russell Hodges expected firefighters to stay on after nightfall to watch hot spots.  Most of that work was on foot in wooded areas along the southern edge of the park.

“The trees that are still burning ashes, trying to get them knocked out, put out before the wind changes,” Hodges said.

Crews have more than 80 acres to watch. The flames charred hills, devoured trees, and taxed first responders. At one time nearly 60 men and women from nine volunteer fire departments in and around Lyon County came to the rescue.

“Everyone's fatigued from the work. We keep them hydrated with Gatorade and water,” Hodges said.

Crews also fought the hard to reach fire with a helicopter. No one was hurt.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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