The extreme winds blowing across southern Minnesota Thursday afternoon helped spread numerous field fires across the area. Several fire departments assisted in battling a bean field fire in Cottonwood County just across the Brown County border. The Hanska Fire Department was called out to a fire near the Blue Earth County border as well, and the Redwood Falls and Madelia Fire Departments helped fight field fires also. At around 2:30 Thursday afternoon the New Ulm Fire Department was called to a field fire on property owned by Norman Krienke of Sleepy Eye off County Road 27. Firefighters spent about 3 hours battling those flames. In Martin County, at least a half-dozen field fires were reported by early Thursday afternoon. One blaze destroyed two chicken coops and a grain bin, and smoke from the field fires was so thick in places that it cut visibility on roads. At least two accidents were attributed to people watching the fires while driving or having their vision impaired by smoke. The wind also caused the large flagpole in front of the New Ulm Perkins to partially blow over, causing authorities to block off part of South Broadway for a time. No reports of injuries from any of these incidents have been received.