It doesn’t take much for a grass fire to develop into a wildfire, and unfortunately, no matter how many times we are educated about grass fire prevention, every summer season, too many seem to appear. While many grass fires are ignited by obvious, careless human efforts, like burning garbage or abandoning a smoldering camp fire, they can start surprisingly easily and often without our knowledge. These may be things like a lawnmower blade striking a rock, a vehicle’s exhaust pipe dragging across a grassy area on a dirt road, or an electric fence wire snapping against a metal post. And as we all know, it doesn’t take much of a breeze to fuel a grass-kindled flame that covers just a few yards to grow into an inferno spanning several acres. Time is crucial when trying to prevent a small, grass fire from turning into a destructive blaze, so we need to plan ahead as much as possible on situations that we can control.
This week is National Police Week, the time each year when names are added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial walls in Washington, D.C.
Officer Tom Decker, whose murder Nov. 29, 2012, has not yet been solved, will become a part of the memorial to fallen police officers this week. His widow Alicia, his parents, and siblings and other family members are in D.C. to be a part of the ceremony.
In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726, designating May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and directing flags to be flown at half-staff on government buildings. Since the first recorded police death in 1791, there have been more than 19,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. There were 120 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2012, and on average 58,000 are assaulted each year resulting in more than 16,000 injures.
Sheriff Jeff Norlin is continuing the annual memorial service in front of the Law Enforcement Center, by the flag pole, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. There will be a short gathering that officers and the public are invited to attend. It will start at 9:00 a.m. and be officiated by Meeker County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Jeff Garland. Your presence is welcome and appreciated.
ATV crash in St. Augusta
Thursday, April 23, at about
4 p.m., the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident that they found Patrick Joseph Watrin, age 34, of
St. Augusta laying in a ditch along CR 47 near his ATV. Mr. Watrin was unreponsive and apparently had crashed his ATV while attempting to cross over a driveway approach.
Watrin was taken to and admitted to the St. Cloud Hospital by Gold Cross Ambulance. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, and deputies believe that alcohol consumption may have been a factor in the crash. The St. Augusta Fire and Rescue Unit assisted at the scene.
This was part of a controlled burn conducted by the Watkins Fire Department Wednesday afternoon, May 1. Perhaps you saw the smoke just before sunset? About a half-mile in from this spot is Vic Geislinger’s land-bound 27-acre CRP field; he’s required to burn it every five years. This fire was kept under control. But every day there are several grass fires to which our local volunteer fire departments are called. Several counties are under a burning ban that started Monday, May 6. Even if you’re not under a burning ban, please be careful about fire. It’s literally tinder-dry out there. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua, with thanks to John who helped me find it.