It only takes a spark …

No one in the Independent’s coverage area needs a special fire warning being issued to know it’s grass fire season once again.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has most of the state under “very high” alert in its fire danger rating. “Very high” means fires can start very easily and spread at a fast rate.

Locally, a second large grass fire broke out shortly before noon on Monday, a day after seven fire departments responded to a wildlife fire south of Marshall.

Today’s weather calls for very hot and windy conditions with low humidity – a perfect recipe for fires. All that’s needed is a spark. Thus, a fire warning.

“The biggest thing is, if you hear there’s going to 25 to 30 miles per hour wind, don’t burn anything,” said Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith. “We live in a wind zone out here.”

Even though we had a late winter that brought plenty of April snow, and even though our drought situation has eased, it’s apparently very dry out there, so as much as you want to burn that brush left over from a long winter, think before you strike that match. If you need to burn, wait until after a nice rain.

“It’s still dry out there,” said Klaith. “We had a couple of late snowfalls, then a half-inch of rain, but then the wind picks up and dries everything out again.

Under these dry conditions, spot fires can happen at any time and can easily be started from a simple spark from a farm vehicle, so let’s not put any undo strain on our local fire departments by deciding to do our own controlled burn – no matter how small you think it will be. And be careful with the word “controlled.” Under the right circumstances, things can get out of control very easily.