Grass fires signal beginning of difficult fire season

Grass fires Thursday and Friday that kept rural firefighters busy appear to be the start of what shapes up to be a very difficult fire season.

Minatare firefighters responded to two ditch fires Friday that were begun under calm conditions, and then flared into brush and trees when the wind picked up. One fire was north of the river, where Scottsbluff rural firefighters provided mutual aid. The other was south of the river, with Gering fire personnel assisting.

Minatare also had three grass fires Thursday, including one that jumped a road north of Minatare between Highway 26 and Highland Road. Fire Chief Tom Case says landowners, and even ditch riders, need to take extra care with controlled burns. Case says those burning can not take lightly the possibility that calm weather can change, and cause havoc under the current conditions.

Scottsbluff Rural Assistant Fire Chief Paul Reisig reminded residents that once controlled burns get into the dry material, it's very easy for a simple fire to get away, take off, and cause serious problems.

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