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Rain helps contain 7,100-acre grass fire

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

PARK RAPIDS— A 7,100-acre grass fire that con-sumed 64 buildings last week is contained. Weekend rains helped departments get the fire under control.

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“We got rain and that’s ex-cellent,” Jeff Edmonds, spokesman for the state De-partment of Natural Re-sources, said over the week-end. “It’s quieted things down. We have crews out there. We’re going to be winding it down and handing it back to the local Park Rap-ids area office in the next few days.”

All evacuations and road closures in the Green Valley Fire area have been lifted. No spread is expected.

The fire’s footprint was es-tablished by late Tuesday, spreading nearly nine miles long by one to two miles wide, Edmonds said.

“Nothing has really grown since that,” he added. “No other structures have been lost; no significant fire runs since then. It’s been an occa-sional tree, an occasional clump of unburned fuel or something.”

Peat throughout the burn area continued to smolder deep beneath the surface, “but nothing to expand the perimeter or damage more structures from that first day,” Edmonds said.

All out-of-area resources have been demobilized. Staff-ing of the fire was returned to the DNR Park Rapids Forestry Area.

The DNR will facilitate a session with loggers and landowners whose trees sus-tained damage in last week’s fire.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Menahga School library.

The session is an oppor-tunity for landowners whose trees were affected by the fire to meet loggers, area Forestry supervisor Mark Carlstrom explained of tim-ber sales and other relevant issues.

Red pine stressed by fire is susceptible to pine bark bee-tle infestation, he said, which can eventually move to healthy trees.

For more information, call the forestry office at 732-3309.

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