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Firefighters contain blaze near Gilby, N.D.

A fire burned about 800 acres east of Gilby Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Andrew Hazzard/Grand Forks Herald)1 / 5
Manvel Fire Chief Steve Schumer talks to Gilby firefighters at the sight of a large farmland fire east of Gilby, N.D. Tuesday. (Andrew Hazzard/Herald Staff)2 / 5
The sun was obscured by heavy smoke emerging from the flames of a fire that burned up nearly 900 acres of hay and conservation reserve land near Gilby Tuesday afternoon. (Andrew Hazzard/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 5
Emerado firefighters work to extinguish burning cattails on the edge of a fire that burned about 900 acres of farmland east of Gilby Tuesday afternoon. (Andrew Hazzard/Grand Forks Herald) 4 / 5
An Emerado firefighter extinguishes flames on the edge of a massive field fire east of Gilby as more flames burn in the background. About 900 acres were burned. (Andrew Hazzard/Grand Forks Herald)5 / 5

GILBY, N.D. -- Heavy smoke from a wind-driven fire east of Gilby shut down a stretch of Grand Forks County Road 33 but caused little damage Tuesday afternoon.  

Just before 6 p.m., firefighters had the fire contained to fields south of County Road 33 and between County Road 3 and Gilby. About 900 acres were on fire.

The blaze started around 3:30 p.m. Landowner Mike McEnroe said the burning fields contained hay and conservation reserve land. He said the land had been hayed during the drought in western North Dakota and said there would be no property damaged.  

“It’ll probably save me some work,” McEnroe said.

Firefighters from volunteer departments in Gilby, Manvel, Emerado and Larimore responded to the fire. Manvel Fire Chief Steve Schumer said the main goal was to contain the fire and not let it jump any roads, which firefighters were able to do.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. Walls of flames could be seen in various sections of the field. A huge cloud of smoke was visible from across Grand Forks County.

After the fire burned through the field, firefighters walked out into the scorched ground, breaking up hot spots.

Schumer said there’s usually at least one farmland fire like this each year.

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