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Grant Valley house damaged by fire

Bemidji Fire Department responded to a house fire in Grant Valley Township Wednesday. The fire caused more than $10,000 in damages. Photo courtesy Bemidji Fire Department

BEMIDJI – A house fire in Grant Valley Township west of Bemidji caused more than $10,000 in damages Wednesday morning, according to the Bemidji Fire Department.

A house fire was reported at 11:24 a.m. on the 1600 block of Stone Lake Road Southwest. Responding firefighters found the exterior wall and deck of the home in flames, according to a news release from the fire department.

Thirteen Bemidji firefighters responded with two fire engines and three water tankers. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire before it moved inside the home. Firefighters remained on scene about 90 minutes.

Damage is estimated at $10,250.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but appears to be accidental in nature.

Assisting at the scene were the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bemidji Ambulance Service and Beltrami Electric Cooperative.

The region’s fire danger status remains “extreme,” which means fires can be explosive and result in extensive property damage, according to the DNR.

With the very dry conditions and extreme fire danger, the Fire Department and DNR issued wildfire safety tips Wednesday:

-Vehicle exhaust systems and catalytic convertors: hunters and anyone driving in wildland areas need to be mindful of parking over grass, including on the side of roads.

- ATV’s – make sure you have well-maintained mufflers, avoid driving through tall grass

- Cutting torches/welding – Avoid these activities in areas with vegetation, and have a fire extinguisher nearby if you must work in these areas.

- Charcoal grills: do not discard ashes in grass or near grass. 

- Blowdown slash/brush piles: Residents are asked to be patient and wait for adequate snow cover before burning. These piles will hold heat for days, and are much too dangerous under current fire conditions.

- Peat/organic soils: Our fuels are extremely dry and any fire that burns over peat soils will most likely ignite the peat below. Peat is extremely difficult and costly to suppress and the person responsible for the fire will be paying any suppression costs.

- Campfires: While they are still legal at this time, everyone must be extra diligent with campfires. They must be contained in a ring and attended at all times. Make sure the fire is cold to the touch out before leaving it.