Home / North Dakota News / Conditions prompt North Dakota governor to declare emergency
Three ranch hands watch from a hillside as a wind-driven grass fire sweeps across the hills on the Price Ranch north of Mandan, N.D., Tuesday, March 31, 2015. (AP Photo/The Bismarck Tribune, Tom Stromme)

Conditions prompt North Dakota governor to declare emergency

BISMARCK, N.D. — Gov. Jack Dalrymple has declared a fire emergency as wildfires continue to flare up around North Dakota.

Dry conditions, unseasonably high temperatures and strong winds have led to several grass fires this week. The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for the entire southern portion of the state to alert residents that conditions are ideal for wildfires.

Fifteen counties and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation have restricted open burning, and the state Game and Fish Department has banned burning including campfires on the 25-square-mile Oahe Wildlife Management Area along the Missouri River south of Bismarck-Mandan.

Dalrymple’s order also includes a burn ban for areas classified in the fire danger rating system as high, very high, or extreme, as well as for red flag areas. Burning will be allowed in areas rated low or moderate fire danger, if approved by local authorities.

Dalrymple also activated the state’s emergency operations plan and has authorized the use of National Guard resources if necessary.

“In many areas of the state, the weather conditions have created a serious fire threat,” he said in a statement. “I have directed state agencies to be at the ready if their assistance is needed, so we can help local and tribal officials in their efforts to save lives and protect property.”

No injuries have been reported in any of the fires, but some have come dangerously close to homes. A fire Wednesday near Zap that authorities said might have been caused by a carelessly tossed cigarette came within a few hundred yards of a farm home.

Homeowner Rosella Sayler told The Bismarck Tribune that she was worried for herself and also the volunteer firefighters who responded.

“I feel sorry for them. It’s got to be a lot of stress,” she said.

Ninety-six percent of the firefighters in the state are volunteers, according to the North Dakota Firefighters Association.

“This part of the country we help one another,” Mike Gartner, a volunteer with the Mandan Rural Fire Department for 40 years, told KXMB-TV.

In related news, California first to feel hydro-power crunch of drought.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

5 comments

  1. I was at a safety class today and the instructor said he seen six diferent people throw cigarettes out the window of there cars yesterday. WTH is the matter with people? They need to fine them $20,000.00 if they catch them.

  2. See it every day people throwing cigarettes out of their windows. If the fine was large enough and enforced it would stop. The state legislature needs to raise the fine along with speeding fines.

  3. Cigarettes need to be banned anyway

  4. Isn’t it good for grasslands to burn once in a while?