Controlled fire near river burned remains of May storm

Debris burned Tuesday night

-Messenger photo illustration by Joe Sutter A smoldering pile of ash is all that's left from the huge collection of trees and debris from the storms in May. The pile was lit around 11 p.m. Tuesday and can still be seen smoking at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The Fort Dodge Fire Department's snorkel truck remained on scene, and had put water on the fire in the night to keep it under control.

Fort Dodge residents may have seen and smelled smoke again Wednesday morning, but this time it’s not from wildfires in another state.

A huge pile of trees and storm debris was lit on fire Tuesday night down next to the Des Moines River. The pile was collected after heavy storms hit the city in May.

“It was the giant pile we created from the wind storms, and people could go drop off for free,” City Manger David Fierke said.

“Last night we burned it. It was a controlled burn — a rather large controlled burn.”

The Fire Department put water on parts of the fire at times to keep it from getting too hot, Fierke said. The fire was lit around 11 p.m. Tuesday and burned through the night so it was less distraction for people.

The Fire Department continued to monitor the fire Wednesday as it kept smoldering, Fierke said.

“There are some ashes that fell on people’s cars,” Fierke said. “I came out this morning from working out at the Rec — what are these ashes on my car?”

The rest of the ash, the city can just till into the ground, Fierke said, and whatever is left over can be handled through the city’s normal yard waste process.

Usually it’s ground up to create compost, he said. This much material would have completely overwhelmed it.