ORONOCO -- Embers from a permitted burn in Oronoco Township were picked up by Monday's strong winds and burned 35 to 40 acres.
The Pine Island and Elgin fire departments were called about 1 p.m. Monday to the 11400 block of Cedar Beach Drive Northwest in Oronoco Township for a report of a field on fire, according to a news release from the Pine Island Fire Department.
Firefighters arrived to find flames approaching several sheds and the home on the farm property.
Four-wheelers, utility terrain vehicles and several brush trucks were use to extinguish the flames. Approximately 35 to 40 acres were burned before the fire was brought under control.
"The fire started when trees and brush were being removed from a fence line in a corn field and placed in a pile to burn," the news release says. "Embers from that fire ignited the surrounding fields when winds picked up."
Southeastern Minnesota is currently "very high" on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' fire danger map. A large part of the region also requires burn permits. Most of central and northern Minnesota have burn restrictions in place.
“Warm and dry conditions are key factors for wildfires, so we have to remain on alert about restricting open burning,” said Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor.
Even with rain in the forecast, the public is asked to check with their local county officials and the DNR before attempting any controlled burn.