Sheriff says grass fires in central Minnesota may have been started deliberately

Police are asking for the public's help.
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The Benton County Sheriff's Office says it believes that at least some of a series of grass fires in the area were started intentionally.

The sheriff's office says it's responded – along with several other agencies – to seven grass fires burning in road ditches in the past four days.

"The number and frequency of these fires, along with evidence found at some of the scenes, have led investigators to believe some or all of these fires have been intentionally set," the sheriff's office said.

The fires under investigation are as follows: 

• March 29th at about 11:30 AM a grass fire was reported in the 2000 block of 55th St NE in Minden Township

• March 30th at about 9:25 AM a grass fire was reported in the 4700 block of 25th Ave NE in Minden Township

• March 31st at about 9:15 AM a grass fire was reported near the intersection of 5th Ave NE and 75th St NE in Watab Township

• March 31st at about 11:45 AM a grass fire was reported on 185th Ave NE near the intersection with Hwy 23 in Maywood Township

• March 31st at about 1:00 PM a grass fire was reported near the intersection of 180th Ave NE and Hwy 23 in Maywood Township

• April 1st at about 10:35 AM a grass fire was reported near the intersection of 55th Ave NE and 65th St NE in Mayhew Lake Township

• April 1st at about 10:50 AM a grass fire was reported near the intersection of 115th St NE and Mayhew Lake Rd NE in Mayhew Lake Township

There have been a number of grass fires reported across Minnesota in recent days, with a combination of a dry spell of weather and strong winds prompting Red Flag warnings from the National Weather Service.

Earlier this week, a wildfire in Northwestern Minnesota burned almost 13,000 acres of land, making it one of the largest wildfires in recent state history.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office is asking local residents to report any suspicious vehicles to police immediately as it tries to identify potential suspects behind the fires.

Those with information should call (320) 968-7201 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at (800) 255-1301.

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