No sooner is the snow gone that the wildfires start in Minnesota

An 80 acre field was ablaze in the East Metro on Wednesday.
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While the snowmelt is causing Minnesota rivers to surge, on dry land there is an increasing risk of grass fires.

The receding snow is leaving behind dead grass that is extremely susceptible to spark creating fires that can spread quickly over a large area.

That was the case in Cottage Grove on Wednesday afternoon, where firefighters had to battle an 80-acre blaze on dunes prairie south of 100th Street.

Crews from St. Paul, Newport, Woodbury, Lower Saint Croix Valley, Lake Elmo and the DNR were drafted in to tackle the blaze, which fortunately resulted in no injuries.

The Cottage Grove Fire Department said it remained at the scene during the evening to keep an eye on hot spots after the main fire was extinguished.

KSTP reports that on Tuesday around 15-20 acres of grassland was burned in Nisswa, which follows more than 80 blazes affecting 3,000 acres reported across the state last week alone.

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– Family mourns young man killed in Fridley house fire.

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Minnesota DNR last week held "Wildfire Prevention Week" to raise awareness of what to do in the event of a wildfire.

"The question shouldn’t be ‘if’ wildfires will occur, but rather ‘when’ and ‘where,'" said Casey McCoy, fire prevention supervisor. "It’s good to use this time to look at what we can do now to prevent and prepare for wildfires."

The DNR recommends having a wildfire evacuation plan and a "grab-and-go" bag filled with essential items including a first aid kit, food and cash.

It also recommends postponing outdoor burning on windy, dry days, not to park on dry grass and thoroughly extinguish campfires.

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