NEAR CAMDEN STATE PARK - Hours after a fire chopper landed at the Marshall airport, fire departments from nine area cities were called to a large grass fire at the south end of Camden State Park.
Lyon County dispatch started sending out calls to area departments to assist the Russell Fire Department about 2:20 p.m. Monday. The fire started about one mile north of Russell, one-and-a-half miles west of Minnesota Highway 23.
Fire crews from Arco, Balaton, Garvin, Ghent, Lynd, Marshall, Minneota, Russell and Tracy were called to the scene.
Photo by Steve Browne
Fire fighters and first responders from nine area agencies were called out to battle the fire near Camden on Monday.
A chopper from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Department that is used to fight wildfires landed at the Marshall Airport about two hours before the blaze was reported and was called in to assist as well from above. The chopper scooped up water from an area west of the park.
"It's a great asset," said Marshall Assistant Fire Chief Ray Henriksen. "It covered a lot of areas that weren't accessible to firefighters."
Henriksen said fire fighters eventually headed down into a ravine area where ATVs can't access to work on containment by hand.
The fire was mostly contained as of 4 p.m., although a number of hot spots remained, and firefighters stayed on the scene for mop-up duty and to douse any flare-ups and prevent spreading because of the windy conditions.
"We haven't had one this big for a while," said Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith. "The biggest factor today was that wind. It had everybody on edge."
"It was hard conditions for the firefighters - so many gullies and stuff to work in," said DNR Conservation Officer Doug Lage. "There's a lot of grass down in those ravines and it's tough to fight. The helicopter did a great job getting in there. It was able to dump a lot of water real quick."
Lage estimated about 80 acres were burned.
Henriksen said the sheriff's department is investigating what could've caused the fire, but couldn't elaborate.
All of southern Minnesota is in a Red Flag Warning for fires.