BISMARCK — Firefighters were optimistic Tuesday, April 6, as they battled to contain a wildfire that's burned more than 5,000 acres in the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and part of the Little Missouri National Grassland in northwestern North Dakota, according to the state forest service.
Winds were lighter Monday night and Tuesday than in the past few days, which may help keep the fire from spreading further. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but was likely caused by humans, the state forest service said. The fire was about 45% contained as of late Tuesday morning.
There have been no reports of damage to structures, but campgrounds and some private homes near the north end of the fire are at risk.
The area closed due to the blaze, which authorities are calling the Horse Pasture Fire, has been expanded to include the CCC Campground and parts of the Maah Daah Hey Trail. The park's north unit will remain closed until further notice.
An emergency burn and shooting ban is in place for all national forest lands in Billings, Golden Valley, Grant, McKenzie, Sioux, Slope, Ransom and Richland counties. "Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, smoking, and discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun are prohibited with some exceptions," the state forest service said in a statement.
Because of the wildfire smoke, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday advised residents, especially those with respiratory conditions, to consider reducing time spent outdoors because of the wildfire smoke.
As of midday Tuesday, most of the impacts from the smoke seemed to be concentrated in western North Dakota, the department said. For up-to-date information on the region’s air quality, visit http://airnow.gov.
The state forest service announced Monday that a fire that threatened the town of Medora was 100% contained after burning almost 2,300 acres.