A spark from a passing train early Tuesday evening ignited a fire in Lowell Township less than a mile north of Crookston that burned approximately 50 acres of grass, brush and trees before firefighters got the fire under control.
With high winds fanning the flames, as the fire grew much of Crookston’s north end and even downtown was blanketed by a thick layer of smoke. The unsettling scene drew out many onlookers, who headed toward the Highway 75 bypass to get a closer look at the blaze. Crookston Police eventually ushered everyone parking along Polk County Highway 61 adjacent to Minakwa Golf Course and the driving range out of the area.
The Crookston Fire Department got the call at 5:47 p.m., from Section 24 of Lowell Township. By around 7:30 p.m. firefighters were getting the best of the blaze, and by 10:30 p.m. the fire was out. Burlington Northern Santa Fe crews helped as well, extinguishing burning railroad ties.
No injuries were reported and no structures were reported lost.
Firefighters, asked if they were ever concerned about not being able to get the blaze under control, cited swampy, wet areas that helped them contain the flames.