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AFD: No spectators allowed to enter fairgrounds during grandstand burn

Published 11:06am Friday, February 1, 2013

With Saturday’s burn of the Mower County Fair’s grandstand fast approaching, the Austin Fire Department is getting the word out — this is not a spectator event.

“This is a safety training burn,” said commander Terry Peterson. “We have to have accountability: Who’s in there and where they are at all times.”

Starting at around 8 a.m. the gates to the fairgrounds will be closed to the public and only a select few will be allowed inside in specific areas during the burn itself.

“All the gates will be locked and watched by the by Sheriff’s Department reserves,” Peterson said.

Firefighters will use the opportunity for training early on in the day in what Peterson called a level 1 live burn training for new firefighters who need the burn to complete there training.

Small fires will be started in a specified room under the grandstands and then knocked down by the fire department.

Around 10 a.m. then grandstand burn will be started. The size of the burn and all the preparations supporting it are the driving reasons for the increased safety precautions and the limiting of people inside the fairgrounds.

The public will be able to watch from behind the fences of the fairgrounds, but should use common sense.

“Just use good judgement,” Peterson said. “Abide the traffic laws and if they can find a parking spot to watch — great.”

Seven area fire departments have confirmed they will be at the burn including Brownsdale, Rose Creek, Lyle, Mapleview, Alden, Hollandale and Adams.

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