Rancher estimates 50% of his pastures burned by Medora fire

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Dozens of fire departments battled a wildfire near Medora, which was sparked by a downed power line Thursday afternoon.

Initial reports from the State Forest Service estimated the fire to be much larger than it was, but despite the official reduction in acreage burned, lots of land was still lost.

Dozens of firefighters continue to battle hot spots 12 hours after, nearly 3,000 acres of land was burned.

As they continue to fight, one local rancher is fighting his own battle as nearly a third of his land was lost in the fire.

Doug and Julie Tescher ranch is a few miles from where the blaze began.

“It was all on mine, the whole fire was on mine,” said Doug Tescher.

Thursday night, flames soared into the sky and the city of Medora was evacuated.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had to call for evacuation,” said Billings County Fire Chief Kyle Schockley.

Crews from around the state, including Montana fire engines, responded to the wildfire.

“For an event like this we needed an aircraft in the air, and we we’re appreciative that the Blackhawks could launch,” said North Dakota Forest Services Air Operations and Assistant Crew Lead Hunter Noor.

National Guard Blackhawk helicopters dumped buckets of 450 gallons of water on hot spots throughout the day.

“To see it was only 3,000 acres was refreshing, especially due to the times of the drought here and the ranchers who depend on the land,” said Chief Schockley.

The Tescher’s depended on their land the most, as they use the pasture for summer cattle grazing. Doug estimates nearly half of his pastures are a total loss for the year.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I’ll address that problem. It was already so dry. I was short of grass and a couple of these pastures I saved, I never even used, they were my best pastures and that was where I was going to go,” said Doug Tescher.

His family remains optimistic, as no cattle, horses or structures of their we’re burned down in the fire.

Crews will continue to monitor the fire and put out hot spots as they find them throughout the park.

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