BISMARCK — Firefighters battling a 5,000-acre blaze in the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and part of the Little Missouri National Grassland in western North Dakota had contained about 70% of the fire as of Friday morning, April 9.
"The winds last night caused some flare ups, but responders are optimistic despite wind gusts expected again today," the North Dakota Forest Service said in a statement. "At this time, no structure damage has been reported, but the CCC campground and other infrastructure in the park could still be at risk."
To keep the fire from spreading, crews worked Thursday, April 8, to remove vegetation around the fire to reduce the amount of fuel for the flames. The blaze, which authorities are calling the Horse Pasture Fire, has been burning since at least Easter.
Investigators are working to determine what sparked the fire, but officials have said they believe it was human-caused. The north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park remains closed.
A red flag warning and wind advisory were issued for western North Dakota on Friday, April 9, and critical fire weather is anticipated through Saturday. Gov. Doug Burgum declared a statewide drought disaster on Thursday, with 70% of North Dakota facing extreme drought and much of the state at risk for wildfires.
All North Dakota counties, except for Griggs County in the eastern half of the state, have instituted burn bans due to the dry conditions.
Last week, firefighters contained a wildfire near Medora, N.D., that burned about 2,300 acres.