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Home / US / Wildfire threatens the scenic town of Medora in western North Dakota, prompting evacuation

Wildfire threatens the scenic town of Medora in western North Dakota, prompting evacuation



After an emergency alert system message called for evacuation from Medora, a large-scale call for help was issued to local, state and federal firefighters.

Firefighters fight the raging fire southwest of Medora, which once encroached on the edge of the city. As of 8pm, fire officials reported that 15% of the fire had been controlled, and an estimated 9,600 acres had been burned.

Due to extreme drought conditions in most parts of North Dakota, Governor Doug Burgum implemented a statewide wildfire emergency operation Thursday evening, authorizing National Guard forces to assist states and The local fire response. The guard deployed two Black Hawk helicopters to Billings County, where they shuttled through the water to fight and contain the fire until the evening.

The crew put out the fire before it reached the center of Medola, although Joe Wigander, who has lived in the city for a long time, pointed out that the building or the nearby Medola Musical House Burns Hill Open Air Any smoke damage to the theater must be assessed in the morning.

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Some residents who remained behind the historical sites were busy doing temporary bucket brigade all day, pouring water on the building closest to the fire. When the sun sets on Medora, the fire keeps burning, and the changing wind direction may still pose a risk to the town overnight.

The North Dakota Forest Service said in a statement: “Despite the rough terrain and poor red flag conditions, responders have made good progress in containing fires.”

; “Critical fire weather and fire conditions are expected to continue. “

Bill Palanuk and the North Dakota Cowboys Hall of Fame in Medora have stated that they have done their utmost to protect the historic sites of the Old West style town.

Palanuk said: “The worrying thing is that the smoke is dark and the grass fire smoke is white smoke.” It may be something else.”

Wigan said the fire started with a 25 mph westerly wind, towards the Burning Mountain Amphitheater, Morse Castle and the Castle Interpretation Center tilted to the northeast.

“The fire swept through and seized the cemetery ridge, the Medora Cemetery, and then swept into a small canyon where the road leads to the Medora Musical. I am happy to say that the house of the Medora Foundation Wigan said.

Wally Owen, a Medora resident, said he opened fire on the authorities after seeing smoke near his property south of the city center on Thursday afternoon. Owen said that he saw flames as high as 40 feet in the distance.

The fire was only a quarter of a mile from his land, but Owen persisted, making his property more fireproof by wetting the grass around the house and the shingles on the roof. Owen said that his property was not damaged and he did not believe that any neighboring buildings were on fire.

Wally Owen, a Medora resident, said the flames of a wildfire reached his property less than a quarter mile on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Wally Owen, a resident of Medora, said the flames of a wildfire fell on his property a quarter mile on Thursday, April 1, 2021.


Owen has lived near Medora throughout his life and once ran the Peaceful Valley Ranch in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. He said he had never seen it before The fire that “posed a threat” to that historic city center. Irving said that as the manager of local history and the promoter of the area, he seemed to have survived the town.

He said: “Prayers have been answered.”

According to the North Dakota State Highway Patrol, the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 94 from the beach to Bellfield were temporarily closed due to heavy smoke from the fire that reduced visibility, but are now open.

The Billings County wildfire on Thursday erupted under widespread drought and some of the worst conditions in North Dakota in years. According to the United States Drought Monitoring Agency, due to persistent drought conditions and strong winds, nearly half of the states are facing extreme drought conditions-the area of ​​the region has increased by nearly 20% from last week.

North Dakota (all four counties except North Dakota) has implemented a burn ban, and grass fires have sprouted in various areas of the state this week. On Tuesday, the power line was shot down, causing a fire that spanned three miles outside Richardton. Last weekend, multiple firefighters in northeastern North Dakota burned a fire near the Blaze International Airport, which destroyed more than 250 acres. Last week, near the Canadian border, a U.S. Border Patrol agent rescued a man whose electric brush caught fire.

According to data from the North Dakota Forest Service, more than 140 wildfires have been reported so far this year, burning 30,000 acres, more than three times the area burned by wildfires in 2020.

The recent drought conditions have caused fires in the upper reaches of the Great Plains. Earlier this week, a portion of the highway in western Minnesota was shut down for a nearly 500-acre grass fire, and Burgum’s statement occurred only two days after South Dakota entered a state of emergency, which was due to the Black Mountain fire that forced the state Caused by the evacuation of hundreds of people. Western state.

According to a statement from State Forestry Commissioner Tom Claeys, the North Dakota Forest Service will continue to assist local and tribal response efforts and position fire trucks as a preventive measure in high-risk areas. In addition, Clays pointed out that Colorado provided two field fire trucks to North Dakota through the State Exchange.

For information on how to prevent wildfires, or to view a map showing current burn ban limits and fire hazard levels, please visit www.ndresponse.gov.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Local, state, and federal fighters at the scene of a wildfire in southwestern Medora, North Carolina. We ask the public to avoid this area so that emergency responders can catch fire easily.  (Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service)

Local, state, and federal fighters at the scene of a wildfire in southwestern Medora, North Carolina. We ask the public to avoid this area so that emergency responders can catch fire easily. (Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service)




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