nddes coordinates weekend wildfire response with local, Tribal, State and federal agencies
NDDES and the North Dakota National Guard, in collaboration with several local, tribal, state and federal agencies, responded to two large wildfires over the April 30-May 2 weekend as the blazes scorched thousands of acres in western North Dakota.
Critical fire conditions, including strong winds, exacerbated the situation at the Roosevelt Creek Fire in the Little Missouri National Grassland, north of Medora, which had started on April 28. The fire ended up burning more than 4,600 acres before crews reached about 80 percent containment as of May 4.
Another large fire on the Fort Berthhold Indian Reservation, about six miles south of Mandaree, North Dakota, burned an estimated 9,800 acres. On May 4, that fire was about 75 percent contained. Both locations required crews to traverse extremely rugged terrain.
On April 30, crews operating two N.D. Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters assisted with fire-fighting operations by emplacing water with 600-gallon Bambi buckets. Another North Dakota helicopter left the next day to assist with the Roosevelt Creek Fire.
As conditions began to deteriorate near Mandaree, two South Dakota National Guard Black Hawks came to North Dakota to assist through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC. The North Dakota and South Dakota aircraft unloaded more than 100,000 gallons on both fires over the weekend.
A third fire by Manning, North Dakota, burned another 1,800 acres over the weekend. Personnel from the N.D. Forest Service and N.D. Civil Air Patrol were on-hand to support firefighters suppressing the blaze there.
“This was a great team effort among many different groups. In addition to local, tribal and federal agencies, we had assistance from our state partners at the N.D. Forest Service, N.D. National Guard and N.D. Civil Air Patrol,” said NDDES Response Section chief Amy Anton. “This successful response was the end result of months of pre-coordination and planning. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who responded so quickly and efficiently. Thanks to their efforts, and those of our incredible volunteer firefighters, we had no injuries and little damage to structures in the areas affected by these wildfires.”
NDDOH continues public health recommendations as emergency declaration ends
The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) emphasizes the importance of prevention measures and vaccinations to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The increase in the number of active cases since early March, the emergence of new variants, and the increase in the number of hospitalizations highlight the fact that this virus is still circulating in our state.
“On April 30, the emergency declaration for the state (was) lifted; however, COVID-19 cases continue to be reported from our communities in North Dakota and people continue to be hospitalized for COVID-19,” said Kirby Kruger, disease control and forensic pathology section chief.
During the last week in April, 83 North Dakotans needed to be hospitalized for care, more than 40% were under the age of 60, and one was less than 10 years of age. The hospitalization rate among North Dakotans aged 16-49 had risen 59% in April 2021 compared to March 2021, the highest month-to-month increase in this age group in the COVID-19 pandemic thus far. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Department of Health recently announced that a child less than 10 years of age recently died from COVID-19 related complications. COVID-19 has proven to be serious and unpredictable.