Much of Minnesota remained in high to very high fire danger throughout the weekend, but that's likely to change as wetter weather-including the potential for snow-moves in.
Several grass fires throughout the area kept firefighters busy between Friday, April 26, and Sunday. And for the Brainerd Fire Department in particular, Sunday afternoon included four back-to-back calls, the first two of which were grass fires.
About 3:45 p.m., a Brainerd crew responded to the intersection of County Road 144 and Gilbert Lane, southeast of town, for a reported grass fire. An hour later, dispatchers requested Brainerd firefighters at another grass fire north of Baxter on the 20000 block of Jackson Avenue, off Cinosam Road.
Both small fires came under control relatively quickly-a good thing, given a call 15 minutes later for firefighters to stand by at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport as a plane with mechanical problems attempted an emergency landing. Mere moments after the plane landed safely, Holmes and crew responded to a house fire on the 10000 block of Wise Road.
Brainerd firefighters weren't the only ones spending time battling flames this weekend. The Pequot Lakes Fire Department responded to a grass fire about 9 p.m. Friday at a home on Chickadee Lane, located on the southeast side of Upper Hay Lake. The fire was reported by a neighbor, who put out most of the fire themselves before fire crews arrived to ensure it was out. Pequot Fire Chief Tom Nelson said he was unsure of the cause, given the property owners were not home at the time.
Mission Township firefighters responded to a grass fire just after 3 p.m. Sunday on the 16000 block of Roberts Drive, off County Highway 11 in Mission Township.
The fire, which was less than an acre in size, appeared to have started when the homeowner burned some brush in a self-made burn barrel and dumped the contents out, thinking there was no longer danger of fire, Mission Fire Chief Eric Makowski-Budrow said.
Crews had the fire out by about 4 p.m.
In addition to six Mission firefighters, four or five responders came from the Department of Natural Resources, Makowski-Budrow said.
Rain, snow could dampen fire risk
Some moist weather this week could, however, help lower the fire risks.
The National Weather Service in Duluth predicted 1-3 inches of snow accumulation overnight Sunday night, with the precipitation turning into rain about 9 or 10 a.m. Monday morning, lead meteorologist Jonathan Wolfe said Sunday evening.
Wolfe expected the system to move out of the Brainerd area by noon Monday.
High temperatures are expected to hover around the low 40s for the first part of the week and creep up to the 50s Thursday, when Wolfe said the lakes area could see a quarter-inch of rain to help green up the grass outside. Temperatures may reach close to 60 by the weekend.
The lowest relative humidity for the week, he added, is 50%.
"So fire weather concerns for the next week for you are minimal," Wolfe said. "It'll be a pretty moist week."
Staff Writer Theresa Bourke contributed to this report.