High Wind Danger | VideoJessica Roose | 10/18/2012
At a truck stop in northeast Bismarck, you can tell that drivers are paying attention to that alert. The parking lot is full of semi trucks, and the restaurant is full of truckers. A few truckers say they`re staying put until things calm down.
They`re not the only ones concerned about the wind. State emergency officials are concerned that what happened in Bucyrus could repeat elsewhere in the state.
Winds like this are a firefighter`s worst nightmare.
"It goes so fast, you can`t hardly keep ahead of it, and like that fire down in Hettinger yesterday," said Bismarck Rural Fire Chief Al Klein.
Klein says he`s never seen a fire like that one, but knows it can only take a second for things to get out of control with this type of weather.
"When you get wind that are like what we`re seeing, you know with that sustained 35 to 45 and wind gusts much higher, and I believe a 70 something odd mile wind was clocked yesterday. Those fires can move so fast that people can`t get out of the way of them," said Greg Wilz with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
While the fire danger here in Bismarck is low that isn`t the case in other parts of the state and officials are urging people to be extra cautious.
"That band out west, you know, that runs from Williston all the way down to the South Dakota border over towards the Mott/Hettinger area. A. lot of fuels; B, extremely dry and literally we were one spark away from a major event yesterday and unfortunately that spark happened, however it happened," Wilz said.
Firefighters say the high winds also bring added danger and more complications when trying to get a fire under control.
"I`m sure that they had major problems getting in front of that fire and then do you want to really be in front of a fire that`s moving 30 miles per hour?" Klein said.
The best thing to do at this point is to try and prevent another disaster, by being alert and cautious in those dry areas, not throwing cigarette butts or other items out of vehicles and keeping cars out of off road areas.