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Woman burned while trying to put out pit fire in rural Itasca County

A burning pit fire got out of control Tuesday in rural Itasca County and a woman's effort to put it out caused severe burns to her arms and legs, the Itasca County Sheriff's Office reported Wednesday.

Police said that a report of a grass and structure fire on a farm in the northeast part of the county on Monson Lake Road was reported at about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday. The fire was started in a pit behind a home and spread to tall grass and several outbuildings, firefighters said.

Patricia Pauna, 72, tried to put the fire out with a shovel and was burned, police said. She was airlifted to the burn unit at Essentia St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

Members of the Nashwauk and Keewatin fire departments helped put the fire out along with members of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Buck Lake first responders and the Hibbing Advanced Life Support Ambulance tended to Pauna.