Michael Post, Fire Marshal for the St. Cloud Fire Department, explained, "Peat is actually a fuel. It can smolder for days, and there are some peat fires that have burned for months and years.
Post said he is not sure what caused the fire. But he believes it was likely ignited from a campfire or burning barrel.
The drought conditions exacerbate the problem. Post said, "Unless we get some appreciable moisture, we're going to see more and more [of these fires]."
Post said the Department of Natural Resources is usually readily available to help with peat fires, but he said the DNR is "spread thin" with the number of peat fires they've had to manage so far.
Post advises people to take caution when working with recreational fires. He said, "Be careful. Everyone enjoys recreational fires. Unfortunately, I get to see the bad side of that. I have to look at the garages and houses that burned up."
Post said preventing fire emergencies begins with the person who starts the recreational fire. He said, "Don't start fires unless you're there to put them out. Have water, a garden hose, or a bucket of sand nearby. Be able to take care of it. Be able to control it."