Editorial: Quite a feat fighting Dickinson-area firesHeading along Interstate 94 Wednesday was tricky for travelers as thick smoke poured across the area.
Heading along Interstate 94 Wednesday was tricky for travelers as thick smoke poured across the area.
Traveling the interstate Thursday morning was a view of an entirely different landscape from the week before — pure black.
Home life for dozens of area citizens has also been different and tricky since the first substantial wildfire scorched the area March 11.
More than one person likely woke Friday morning and sighed relief as drizzle took over what had been dry fields and sunny skies for a week.
Gladstone and Taylor firefighters worked on a hot day to put out the March 11 fire. That same day South Heart firefighters spent about three hours working on a tin building blaze. These wouldn’t be the last.
Though things settled down for about a week, volunteers didn’t get to rest long. Fires swept through Stark County Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Firefighters from numerous stations, including the above mentioned and Dickinson Rural, worked away at the blazes. Some stayed all night Wednesday into Thursday to keep an eye on hot spots east of Dickinson.
The fires got so big and bad that officials sent evacuation notices and closed down the interstate at various times.
Unfortunately, a farm, including a home, was destroyed in Monday’s fire and one man was injured.
At least one of the fires was caused by a controlled burn that got out of control. Another was a reignition from a controlled burn days, if not weeks, before. It is unclear what caused another. Burn bans are in place for a reason.
Some firefighters got a chance to go home and sleep after Wednesday’s blaze, but by mid-morning they were at it again as it rekindled into another full-blown fire.
These volunteers deserve thanks. The employers who encourage community efforts from their employees also deserve acknowledgement.
Then there are auxiliary and various community members who fill fire department kitchens with all sorts of refreshments and food to replenish those fighting the flames when they finally have a chance to come back.
Let’s not forget that households get topsy-turvy when a member leaves for hours to fight fire. Schedules are rearranged, child care needs become an issue and, of course, there is worry and stress.
Not many residents will complain about the far-above average warm temperatures southwestern North Dakota has seen late winter into spring, but those volunteers have quite a task thanks to this heat — traversing rugged land wearing heavy uniforms and, did we mention, flames shooting up around them?
Property owners and community members are grateful for your commitment.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.