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By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

The origin of a grass fire that scorched 300 acres of Tolowa Dunes State Park Sunday is still under investigation, according to officials.

andquot;A vehicle was stuck on the dunes out there and it apparently started the grass fire,andquot; said Randy Crawford of the Fort Dick Fire Protection District. andquot;We believe it was the exhaust from the vehicle that started it, which then spread to the vehicle.andquot;

Crawford said Fort Dick Fire and California Department of Forestry Alder Camp crews were dispatched to the scene around 12:49 p.m. Sunday.

The Kellogg fire - the name given it by CDF because of its proximity to Kellogg Road - was declared andquot;controlledandquot; at 8 a.m. yesterday.

andquot;The wind carried it through the grass,andquot; said Crawford. andquot;We tried to keep it away from the tree line, but with the humidity and shade in many areas we just let it burn itself out.andquot;

Despite the large area burned, Supervising Ranger Ken Morse said yesterday he didn't believe any endangered species were immediately affected.

andquot;What I witnessed while the fire was going on was a lot of nesting mallard (ducks) had to flee the area as the fire approached,andquot; said Morse. andquot;Needless to say, I suspect a lot of nests were burned up and a lot of deer food.andquot;

Morse said the snowy plover, an endangered bird which nests in coastal areas of Del Norte County, has a known nesting-area south of the burn site.

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