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Rash of grass fires break out near Amiret

December 5, 2012
Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - Fire departments from seven different communities responded to an outbreak of grass/field fires that began about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At least three and as many as four separate fires were reported within a 2- to 3-mile radius of the Redwood River Sportsman's Club off of Lyon County Road 9 near Amiret.

"We were lucky tonight that we didn't have the wind," Garvin Fire Chief David Bitton said. "With all the different firefighters fighting these fires we got control extremely fast. It could've been a major nightmare."

Bitton described each of the fires as "rather large."

Along with Garvin, fire departments from Balaton, Cottonwood, Ghent, Marshall, Russell and Walnut Grove responded to the fires. Also on the scene, according to Bitton, were Minnesota State Troopers and the Lyon County Sheriff's Department.

Law enforcement is looking into the possibility that the fires were started deliberately.

"They're investigating it," Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith said. "When you have three fires in that small of a vicinity, you would think they could be all linked together."

Although the fire was near the gun club, Klaith said no buildings were damaged. The Tracy Fire Department fought one blaze that had gotten close to a trailer house, but, Klaith said, that fire was extinguished before any structural damage was done.

Klaith said Tuesday's fires were a good test of the new ARMER radio system, which fire departments, law enforcement and emergency personnel are implementing.

"We got switched over and it worked pretty well," he said. "We didn't have all the radio traffic. It was really like a county mutual aid drill that we didn't even know about. The good thing is nobody got hurt. It went very well, especially for as dry as it is."

Firefighters returned to the scene shortly after 9 p.m. after one of the fires rekindled.



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