Richfield Fire Department battles four acre blaze at Veterans Park

 April 3, 2021 update: Veterans Park Fire Update: The fire in the wetland section of Veterans park last night started a little before 9 p.m. and was extinguished by firefighters around 2 a.m. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Responding fire personnel from various jurisdictions were able to protect and save all park structures and bridges. All areas of the park are currently open. The Richfield Fire Department would like to remind residents to be careful in the effected areas of the park and to remember that during these dry conditions it is important to observe proper fire safety practices.  

Richfield, Minn. (April 2, 2021) – Shortly before 9 p.m. the Richfield Fire Department (RFD) received a call that a fire had broken out in the northeast section of Veterans Park. The area affected by the fire is predominantly wetlands, including a cattail marsh that encompasses approximately four acres. 

The city’s firefighters responded quickly and were able to contain the fire with the help of other fire service jurisdictions. The cause of the fire is unknown at this point and is under investigation. 

“With the current red flag conditions affecting the area, a fire can start and spread very quickly,” said Fire Chief Mike Dobesh. “As a department, we were able to respond, assess the situation and deploy a plan that allowed us to limit the damage to the natural areas of the park.” 

At present, the park’s walking bridges, floating bridge, recreational buildings, playground equipment and other structures have all been spared from the fire. The fire is contained and is being allowed to burn out under the supervision of the RFD. 

“Most people do not realize how tricky a cattail fire can be to get under control,” explained Recreation Services Department Director Amy Markle. “The RFD’s quick response protected not just the park structures, but also possibly the surrounding neighborhoods and highway.” 

The RFD was supported in their effort by several mutual aid partners, including the Edina Fire Department, Bloomington Fire Department, Saint Louis Park Fire Department, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Fire Department, Hennepin County EMS, Richfield Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota State Patrol.