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Fire danger is very high with the dry conditions
By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare fire department was called to a grass fire about 5 am Tuesday morning.
According to assistant chief, Nate Condit, the fire occurred in dried grass and other vegetation along the railroad tracks in a pasture south of the bridge at the bottom of Baden Hill, about eight miles south of Kenmare on U.S. Highway 52.
Firefighters believed the fire ignited from sparks set off by a passing train.
Condit said four trucks and 10 firefighters responded to the 911 call from the Kenmare department and spent about an hour working at the scene. Although it was dark, he estimated the blaze covered between two and four acres.
“It was contained between the [Des Lacs] river and the railroad tracks,” he said. “It wasn’t very big, but it was just enough to get going.”
A few fires, mostly caused by vehicles driving into dry winter wheat stubble fields, have been reported to the Kenmare department since harvest started in late July, but KFD secretary/treasurer Chuck Leet said the number of calls has dropped. “Right now, we’ve been very lucky,” he said. “People are being real careful.”
The fire danger for the area is currently rated as “very high,” with reasonable precautions advised. “As dry as it is, if a fire gets into a crop that’s still standing, it’s going to move,” Leet said, adding that farmers in the area seemed to be taking care to avoid such situations. “If there’s any kind of breeze at all, it’ll take a lot of acres. The guys out there are being very smart about it.”
To date, no burning bans have been posted by Ward County or the state of North Dakota. Leet predicted such a ban could be issued if dry conditions and warm temperatures persist.
“It’s dry out there,” added Condit. “Be careful.”