Posted 7/11/17 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
“It’s been a brutal night,” stated Darren Chernenko, a Grassy Butte volunteer fireman as he took a break Sunday morning after spending the night trying to contain a massive fire that had already consumed over 5,100 acres in the North Dakota Badlands south of Grassy Butte. “The rugged terrain has made it difficult to get anywhere. And with the shifting winds, we haven’t been able to get ahead of the fire.”
According to Treva Slaughter, public affairs officer with the U.S. Forest Service, the fire has been named the “Magpie Fire.”
The Forest Service was notified of a report of smoke in the area of the Magpie campground, which is located on the Medora Ranger District of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands at approximately 4:30 p.m. (CST) on Saturday, July 8. When Forest Service firefighters, as well as the Billings County Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene, the crews discovered an active fire in progress.
The fire quickly spread into McKenzie County where it was met by up to 40 volunteer firefighters from Grassy Butte, Watford City, Arnegard, as well as crews from the U.S. Forest Service and Billings and Dunn counties.
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