Monticello Fire has released a quarterly recap of its calls that were received for April through June of this year from the city of Monticello, Silver Creek and Monticello townships and the part of Otsego in the department’s jurisdiction.
Volunteer crews went on 59 fire and first responder calls for the three months. That number is normal for the second or spring quarter (or really any quarter), according to Chief Steve Joerg. But where the department saw one change this spring, he said, is that while a third of all calls are often “interstate calls” – taking crews out to I-94 for matters such as vehicle fires, crashes or extrications – this spring those incidents accounted for less than a fifth of all calls.
The quarter’s total included 20 incidents of what the department classifies as rescue (or extrication) calls, eight alarm calls, four medical calls, six vehicle fires and six grass fires. Other multiple calls were for structure fires (two in the service area) and to investigate odors of gas (twice). Ten volunteers also took part in a mock crash demonstration at Monticello High School in the spring.
Chief Joerg reports that regardless of rainfall, grass fires can be of continuing concern through the summer months into autumn. These incidents do not have to result from the carelessness of motorists or passengers throwing lit cigarettes from car windows, though that happens. Joerg said that overheated machinery in the normal routine of daily farm work has also sparked fires.
Recreational fires may be popular after work or on weekends in late summer. The chief notes these are allowed except when the state Department of Natural Resources has announced a burning ban or other restrictions. Backyard or other recreational fires are OK without permission as long as they are contained in a 3-foot diameter and a 3-foot height for flames.
Joerg wishes to remind the public they can easily apply for other burn permits at the DNR’s website, dnr.state.mn.us. For $5, or less than 50 cents per month, a person may register for a permit that is valid January through December of any year. They must activate their permit for each day they plan to burn (prohibited during a ban or possibly at times of other restrictions). Activations are good for 24 hours. Users of this service must have a valid email account and access to a printer.
“They can burn as much as they want each year,” Joerg said. “It’s a real good system. It’s more convenient for people that are having the fires.”
By Paul Rignell