May 19—Two large grass fires and another smaller grass fire ignited approximately 10 miles south of Dickinson on Highway 22 Tuesday, May 18. The Dickinson Rural Fire Department and surrounding fire agencies worked throughout the night until approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday, May 19, to contain the growth of the three fires and monitor the situations.
Thompson noted that approximately 20 acres burned, along with several hay bales.
"When the bales burn like that, we burn them completely up so we don't have to go back every time the wind peels them apart," Administrative Chief Jeff Thompson said Wednesday afternoon. "So we just stay there to make sure that they go completely out. So basically (it's) a controlled burn is the best way to put it. You can't really put them out in stacks like that; you just got to slowly let them burn up."
The Dickinson Rural Fire Department received a report of multiple fires burning at about 3 p.m. Tuesday in the 4400 block and the 4800 block of Stark County going toward New England. Once on the scene, the fire department requested mutual aid from surrounding fire agencies including the New England Fire Department, Gladstone Fire Department, the Stark County Water Tenders and the North Dakota Forest Service.
The fire furthest south was previously thought to be in the New England district, but Thompson said that the fire looks to be in the Dickinson Rural Fire Department's district and will follow through with the investigations and writing the final report. The amount of fire damage is still under investigation, he said.
It is unknown what caused the fire at this time, Thompson said, noting that it "appears it started off the highway." Fire officials will continue to investigate the scene as more information becomes available.
The Dickinson Rural Fire Department had 11 trucks on scene as well as 25 of its volunteer members.