Firefighter Injured, Utility Infrastructure Damaged in North Dakota Blaze
Strong winds and drought conditions fueled a wildfire in western North Dakota, injuring a firefighter and some livestock and damaging utility infrastructure.
Officials say the fire has burned about 1 square mile north of Richardton in Stark County. Richardton Fire Chief Jason Kostelecky says smoke reduced visibility in the area to near zero at times Monday. Kostelecky says that led to the crash of a fire truck and minor injuries to a firefighter.
He says some calves in the area were injured in the fire, but the extent of those injuries aren’t known.
Firefighters managed to get the blaze under control around sunset on March 29 and continued to monitor the area the next day. Some trees were still smoldering in the afternoon on March 30, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
An abandoned building burned in the blaze, as did fences, power lines and utility poles. Montana-Dakota Utilities spokesman Mark Hanson says the fire damaged five of the company’s structures, causing one to collapse.
Kostelecky says a power line knocked down by the wind started the fire.
Weather conditions have been ripe for wildfires in western North Dakota in recent days, with low humidity and strong winds.
The National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for Thursday because of windy conditions and low relative humidity.
All but 11 of North Dakota’s 53 counties have some type of burning restrictions in place.
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