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Hot, dry conditions worry fire chief

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI - Dave Hoefer hopes the rain forecasts for the coming days prove true.

Hoefer, Bemidji fire chief, is concerned that the hot, dry weather has conditions ripe for fires.

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And, with many area residents piling piles of downed trees, branches and brush, he believes burning of those fires could easily turn into grass fires.

Hoefer encourages city residents engaged in storm cleanup to take advance of the city's drop-off site at Rako Street.

The region now is listed as having a high fire danger, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hoefer's comments came Thursday, the day after 10 Bemidji firefighters were called to contain a spreading grass fire west of Bemidji.

Then, an adult male had lit a firework while in the middle of a dirt road. Sparks from the firework were thrown into the grass, which caught fire and quickly spread. The fire covered about a half-acre.

The fire was unique in that knee-high green grass was burning to the ground, which is unusual for this area this time of year, Hoefer said.

"The grass is just so dry," he said.

It prompted a warning to residents who do opt to burn in the coming days.

Burning is allowed, but a permit is required.

Within city limits, residents are allowed to have a one-day, overnight burning permit to burn from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The DNR will issue three-day burning permits for burning from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Campfires, or recreational fires, are still allowed without permit. Those fires are required to be less than 3 feet wide and two feet high.

Hoefer, in addition to the fire danger, also cautioned air quality in Bemidji could be negatively affected by too much burning.

If a neighborhood has 50-100 burn piles going at one time, it can easily become overwhelming, he said.

the forecast

Rain is possible in the coming days.

According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms are likely today after 1 p.m. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

E Friday night: 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 1 a.m.

E Saturday: 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

E Saturday night: 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 a.m.

E Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 84.

E Sunday night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms.

BEMIDJI - Dave Hoefer hopes the rain forecasts for the coming days prove true.

Hoefer, Bemidji fire chief, is concerned that the hot, dry weather has conditions ripe for fires.

And, with many area residents piling piles of downed trees, branches and brush, he believes burning of those fires could easily turn into grass fires.

Hoefer encourages city residents engaged in storm cleanup to take advance of the city's drop-off site at Rako Street.

The region now is listed as having a high fire danger, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hoefer's comments came Thursday, the day after 10 Bemidji firefighters were called to contain a spreading grass fire west of Bemidji.

Then, an adult male had lit a firework while in the middle of a dirt road. Sparks from the firework were thrown into the grass, which caught fire and quickly spread. The fire covered about a half-acre.

The fire was unique in that knee-high green grass was burning to the ground, which is unusual for this area this time of year, Hoefer said.

"The grass is just so dry," he said.

It prompted a warning to residents who do opt to burn in the coming days.

Burning is allowed, but a permit is required.

Within city limits, residents are allowed to have a one-day, overnight burning permit to burn from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The DNR will issue three-day burning permits for burning from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Campfires, or recreational fires, are still allowed without permit. Those fires are required to be less than 3 feet wide and two feet high.

Hoefer, in addition to the fire danger, also cautioned air quality in Bemidji could be negatively affected by too much burning.

If a neighborhood has 50-100 burn piles going at one time, it can easily become overwhelming, he said.

the forecast

Rain is possible in the coming days.

According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms are likely today after 1 p.m. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

- Friday night: 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 1 a.m.

- Saturday: 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

- Saturday night: 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 a.m.

- Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 84.

- Sunday night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms.

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Bethany Wesley
(218) 333-9200 x337
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