Smoke smell fills air in Stark CountyWarm temperatures in southwest North Dakota and the “peculiar conditions” had residents wondering what was on fire Monday.
Warm temperatures in southwest North Dakota and the “peculiar conditions” had residents wondering what was on fire Monday.
A smoke smell filled the air and Stark County was “flooded with calls” from concerned citizens, Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said.
“It’s not unreasonable that on windy days they can carry over from Montana,” he said of the smell.
The National Weather Service’s Bismarck office also got its fair share of calls, mostly from Dickinson.
Meteorologist Bill Abeling said satellite images show the smoke blew in from Idaho and southwest Montana wildfires.
“Usually (smoke) stays about 10,000 feet or higher and when it gets up that high it slowly dissipates or gets mixed with rain and comes out much later,” he said.
The warm temperature of more than 90 F Monday afternoon and windy conditions pushed the smoke over southwest North Dakota, he said.
“It just depends on the peculiar conditions,” Abeling said. “Sometimes when the atmosphere conditions are right, it comes down to the ground.”
Somebody with asthma could be quite affected by it, he added.
Dickinson Fire Department Chief Bob Sivak said early Monday afternoon the smell was likely from Montana fires. He had not received calls from citizens.
Though the smell was from afar, much of western North Dakota was under red flag warnings Monday, which means strong wind and low humidity creates conditions favorable for rapid-spreading fires, according to the NWS.