Series of fires on Spirit Lake Reservation lead to temporary evacuations, structures destroyed

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 12:55 PM CDT
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SPIRIT LAKE RESERVATION – A series of fires on the Spirit Lake Reservation over the past 24 hours have prompted a response from several agencies, led to temporary evacuation orders, and destroyed roughly five structures near the town of Tokio.

The fire near Tokio, named the “21 Gulch” fire, is 65-70% contained as of just after noon Tuesday, according to Heath Estey, a fire management zone officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Crews are also currently battling a fire north of the town of Warwick, and it’s unclear how much of that fire is contained.

Monday night the Spirit Lake Fire Department posted on social media that fire crews were battling a large fire in the area of BIA 20 and BIA 21 all the way east towards Spring Lake.

They said that residents in this area need to be prepared for evacuation, and those who are displaced can head to the Fort Totten Rec Center for temporary shelter.

The evacuation orders were lifted early Tuesday morning, though the department indicated around 11 a.m. that firefighters were battling a fire in the area of 84th Avenue NE and Highway 20, and that residents in this area should be prepared to evacuate.

As of 12:15 p.m. no one on the reservation is under an evacuation order.

Fire officials confirmed the Red Cross is on scene attending to residents impacted by the fires.

This is a developing story. More information is expected throughout the day.

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