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DNR officials urge caution during dry conditions

PARK RAPIDS - Although burning permits are still being issued, the Department of Natural Resources is asking area residents to be "extremely careful with fire at all times."

The dearth of precipitation - it's been a month since rainfall has measured an inch - has sent fire danger into the "high" zone, said Mark Carlstrom of the DNR Forestry.

"We are daily assessing the weather and long-range forecasts," he said.

"People in this area are fire savvy," he said. "We are asking residents to remain cognizant and cautious."

The Park Rapids Fire Department headed out for two fires Thursday. A downed power line started a grass fire on CSAH 48 north of Osage and a shorted insulator on a power line ignited a second blaze on Dakota Shores Road.

Fire chief Donn Hoffman said a "good samaritan" was about to head out with rugs to extinguish the fire near the downed power line. But the 7,200-volt line was potentially dangerous.

He advises waiting for the fire department.

"Unless you know the cause of the fire, leave it alone," he said.