Elk River Fire Department busy with grass fires

by Jim Boyle

Thursday’s rain was a welcome sight for the Elk River Fire Department, which responded to seven grass fires in just four days.

In between responding to grass fire calls, the Elk River Fire Department did some training with new technology.

“We’re happy (for the rain),” said Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham. “I suspect it will only give us a short reprieve, though. We’re still gearing up.”

Elk River firefighters hosted a demonstration of a new high pressure foam system this past week.

The department is in the process of purchasing a new grass/urban interface firefighting unit and the Apparatus Committee is exploring new technology. For the demonstration, crews set fire to a section of Woodland Trails Park. In addition to providing valuable training and a real-world experience, the burn also helps generate new growth, Cunningham reported. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Zimmerman Fire also assisted. Later, the technology was demonstrated on a vehicle fire.

Meanwhile, Cunningham urges people to exercise extreme caution when having recreational fires and to follow the local ordinances.

At least one this past weekend was caused by someone burning a desk, which is against the law. Another fire happened along Highway 169 north of 197th Avenue. That one is believed to have started — possibly by a cigarette — along a trail.

The grass fires happened on the following days at the following addresses:

March 16: 90th at Naber St. N.E., Otsego: grass fire (1/2 acre)

March 17: 15400 block 83rd St. N.E., Otsego: grass fire

•14800 block 87th Circle, Otsego: grass fire

March 18: 12600 block 95th St. N.E., Otsego: grass fire (1/4 acre)

•Page Ave at 79th St. N.E., Otsego: grass fire (1/4 acre)

•11300 block Brook Rd., Elk River: grass fire/unattended burn (1/4 acre)

March 19: Highway 169 at 197th, Elk River: grass fire (1/4 acre)