As drought conditions worsen, fire officials worry about more fires

Fire danger
Fire danger(KFYR-TV)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 4:49 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 4:53 PM CDT
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WARD COUNTY, N.D. – As the spring season brings warmer temperatures, drought conditions continue to worsen, creating perfect conditions for fire.

Counties across the state are seeing more and more fires, despite warning the communities about the hazard.

Fires in dry conditions can tear through homes and land in seconds, something that’s all too familiar to Danni Olson, who’s loved one lost a home in a recent fire.

“By the time they got there, the fire had already swept through the trailer it was within like 12 minutes and the trailer was engulfed,” said Olson.

This comes only days after the Ward County commissioners signed off on a burn ban.

“Normally April, May, June that we might have to do this because we normally have more snow fall that melts and save us some time basically but it’s not happening this year,” said Rex Weltikol, Minot Rural fire chief.

The cause of the fire at the Wheatland Village Mobile Home Park is still under investigation, but dry conditions may have played a role.

“Not only is the environment dry but it dries out these homes and these trailers, they go up fast anyways, but you turn around and put dry conditions and the environment and the way they go up, it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” said Olson.

The danger impacting counties across the region. Monday night a large fire broke out in Rolette County, burning more than 150 acres of land, and carried quickly to the Rolla city limits by high winds.

The following day, Rolette County approved a burn ban, joining more than 25 other counties across the state.

Fire officials advised the public to follow burn ban guidelines and call ahead.

“We would rather take a phone call then have to send trucks out. So just be aware,” said Weltikol.

Weltikol explains that he does not want to suggest a total burn ban similar to Morton County, but if conditions worsen and fires continue to break, it may be something Ward County has to consider.

Here’s what you need to know about burn bans.

On days when fire danger rating is high, very high or extreme or a red flag warning, no burning can be done at all.

When the fire danger rating is under moderate, burning is allowed.

Minot Fire Department strongly encourages those who plan to do burning to call into the station or central dispatch to double check the fire rating and to report the burn.

For more information about different county burn bans and fire danger rating, head over to their website.

To donate to Kelly Hill, the homeowner of the lost home, head to this website.

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