May 08, 2017 04:40 PM
Highway 12 west of the metro reopened Monday morning after a massive grass fire in Independence, Minnesota, shut it down.
Firefighters responded to the fire, in the area northwest of Maple Plain at Highway 12 and County Road 90, at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Authorities said the fire began in the middle of the swamp, swallowing up more than 50 acres of cattails and brush.
Members of nine departments spent the night keeping a close watch, making sure flames didn't reach any buildings. The fire was eventually extinguished around 3 a.m.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ water deployment helicopter was prepped for Monday morning, in the event it was needed.
A KSTP crew at the scene said smoke lingered, but flames were no longer visible early Monday morning.
Firefighters said fortunately there were no injuries or even property damage to report. Crew members said they're fortunate a wet spring helped keep the fire under control.
"At this time we have crews stationed at the perimeter of the swamp, all the way around monitoring the situation and ready for that fire once it reaches the edge," Maple Plain Fire Chief Justin McCoy said.
Gary Kroells, the West Hennepin Public Safety Department director, said crews don't how the fire began, but plan to investigate the cause later Monday morning.
"We're investigating a couple of ideas and incidents that happened that may have caused the fire to occur," Kroells said. "We're really unsure at this point."
Authorities did say arson is not suspected and the fire wasn't related to any burn permits.
Rebecca Omastiak & Tyler Berg
Updated: May 08, 2017 04:40 PM
Created: May 08, 2017 05:47 AM
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