2021 is above average for North Dakota wildfires
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Since January 11, 85 wildfires have been reported, consuming 92,950 acres in North Dakota according to the North Dakota Forest Service. In an average year, 525 fires occur covering a little less than 14,000 acres. The organization says 2021 has been an “incredibly active” fire year.
The North Dakota Forest Service says the lack of snowmelt and the drought caused fire season to begin earlier and fire growth has been more explosive than normal.
“Because of the intensity of those fires, they are not going out with spraying a little bit of water. We have had to use indirect tactics,” said fire manager Ryan Melin.
He adds that firefighters have had to use natural barriers, roads, and backburns to fight wildfires this year. Melin says the extreme conditions also make fighting fires more costly, dangerous, and can result in burnout for the firefighters over the season.
The moisture levels across the state have not been widespread so crews cannot relax just yet, but Melin adds that the expected moisture this weekend may allow them to catch their breath, fix equipment, and prepare for the rest of fire season.
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