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Five fires burn along Highway 22; fires projected to continue

A series of five smaller rural fires in Stark County lead to minor damage on Tuesday and Wednesday, highlighting the continued drought conditions in southwestern North Dakota.

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A total of seven trucks from the Dickinson Rural Fire Department (as pictured above) respond to five fires Tuesday, April 27, 2021, that were burning along Highway 22. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)
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With a total of five fires inflaming pasture land and road ditches along Highway 22 in Stark County late Tuesday afternoon, the Dickinson Rural Fire Department would like to remind the public that the region is in severe drought conditions and are expected to worsen as precipitation prolongs.

The Dickinson Rural Fire Department received a page at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, notifying that there were multiple fires burning along Highway 22, according to Administrative Chief Jeff Thompson. At the scene, seven trucks and 22 personnel arrived and contained the fires within an hour, Thompson said, adding that the fire department monitored the area for a few hours.

Engulfing approximately $500 worth of damage with pasture land and road ditches, the fires began at 40th Street and ran approximately six miles south, near 45th Street. One of the fires engulfed a pasture land of approximately three acres, Thompson noted.

The cause of the fires is still under investigation.

“We would caution anybody that’s pulling trailers to check their bearings, check your chains. Our fuel bed is 100% receptive to fire so any spark is causing fires,” Thompson said. “So we’re still under investigation but we’re assuming it’s either going to be a hot-wheel bearing or a draping chain.”

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Thompson noted that fires are projected to continue as drought conditions worsen, and encourages people to be careful during this time.

Jackie Jahfetson is a graduate of Northern Michigan University whose journalism path began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a freelancer for The Daily Mining Gazette. Her previous roles include editor-in-chief at The North Wind and reporter at The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich. Raised on a dairy farm, she immediately knew Dickinson would be her first destination west as she focuses on gaining aptitude for ranch life, crop farming and everything agriculture. She covers hard news stories centered on government, fires, crime and education. When not fulfilling deadlines and attending city commission meetings, she is a budding musician and singer.
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