One of the many fires in Minnesota in recent days was like the result of a cigarette, according to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.
A grass fire was reported Tuesday around 3:45 p.m. in the area of Hwy. 71, specifically in the west ditch of Hwy. 71 to the south of County Road 29 in Sauk Centre Township.
"The cause of the fire is believed to be a cigarette butt thrown from a vehicle," the sheriff's office said.
It wound up burning about a quarter-acre in the ditch. While it wasn't a large fire, it served as another example of how easily fires have started and spread in recent days, thanks to drought conditions, low humidity, warm temps and strong winds.
Fortunately, many of the driest parts of the state are getting a soaking of rain this week, with 2-3 inches expected to fall in central and northwest parts of the state Wednesday through Friday.
Burning permits are currently required in all Minnesota counties, and burning restrictions remain in effect April 7 for these counties: Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Roseau, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Washington, Wilkin and Wright.
The largest fire this year in Minnesota was the Oxcart Fire that erupted 1 mile west of Mentor in northwest Minnesota last week. That fire burned an estimated 12,907 acres, according to the Minnesota Incident Command System, which reported Tuesday that costs associated with the fire have so far totaled $443,000.