Detroit Lakes compost site still closed after controlled burn on Saturday

City workers use a tanker truck and payloader to attack the smoldering remains of a controlled burn involving a large branch pile at the Detroit Lakes compost site off Highway 59 North on Monday afternoon. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

The Detroit Lakes yard waste and compost site off of Highway 59 North was closed Monday as workers dealt with the aftermath of a controlled burn at a large branch pile there Saturday, June 13.

The site was originally scheduled to reopen Sunday, June 14, according to a news release from the city. There have been high winds in the area the past three days, and neighbors are concerned that the smoke from the burn is harmful to people with lung conditions.

Brian Johnson, for one, whose family lives north of the site, said his home has been getting smoked out for three days.

"It's still going on, but yesterday was the worst," he said in a phone interview on Monday. It would have been better if city officials had chosen calmer weather so the smoke would have gone straight upward, Johnson said, and not been blown right into the residential area near the site. Johnson said that an elderly family member with lung issues has had to stay inside, with the house shut up tight and the air conditioning on.

Public Works employees are working on putting out the hot spots in the smoldering branch pile, said Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Shawn King.


"We had it pretty much out," he said, until people moved the barricades blocking the entrance to the site and added more branches to the fire after workers were gone. They apparently had loads of branches and didn't want to leave without dropping them off at the site, so they went in and dropped them on the still-hot wood pile, King said.

"There was more than one person," that did so, he said, and the extra wood apparently caused the fire to flare back up..

"We're not sure when we'll be open again, hopefully by tomorrow," King said Monday. "We have our water tanker out there and we're spraying it with water."

The Detroit Lakes Fire Department may be asked to come out and help if needed, he said.

A controlled burn from Saturday was still smoldering Monday at the yard waste site off Highway 59 North. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

What To Read Next
Get Local