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Small fires near lake contained

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Off-duty firefighters helped contain a small grass fire Tuesday afternoon near Lake Mitchell, authorities said.

Joe Degen, a firefighter/medic with the Mitchell Fire Division, said they were called to an area just east of North Ohlman Street and Indian Village Road, near Lake Mitchell. He said two off-duty firefighters were fishing in the area, noticed the smoke and called in the fire at little after 1 p.m.

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Degen said the off-duty firefighters reported the fire had nearly gone out on its own. It was completely out by the time responders arrived. Degen said the fire was very small, but the main cause of concern was its proximity to a wooded area.

Another small fire on Tuesday afternoon at Kiwanis Woodlot Park was contained by a city employee, Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris said.

They're not sure what caused either fire.

"It's just so dry out there right now that darn near anything right now could start a fire," Morris said, adding that firefighters have been cautioning area residents to avoid any kind of burning on "Red Flag Warning," or high-risk, days when conditions are "ripe" for fires to start.

Those conditions include high temperatures, low humidity and high winds -- especially this time of year when dead vegetation leftover from fall and winter acts as tinder, Morris said.

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