3 fires in 24 hours prompts burn ban reminder
By Annette Tait
It was not a test. The fire alert siren sounding repeatedly last Friday and Saturday summoned Oliver County Fire Protection District volunteers and firefighters from two additional fire companies to three grass fires reported within roughly 24 hours in Oliver County. All began with the best intentions as either controlled burns or garbage pit fires, which quickly grew out of control due to dry, windy conditions.
“We have so much fuel out there and no snow coverage,” Oliver-Mercer Emergency Manager Carmen Reed said. “It makes it very easy for fires to get out of control.”
Fire crews were dispatched to the first two fires within minutes of each other. Just after Oliver County fire crews were dispatched at about 2:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, to a grass fire along Hwy. 25 near mile marker 14, a call came into dispatch for a grass fire on Hwy. 31 near mile marker 104. With two Oliver County units en route to the fire on Hwy. 25 and the potential to need more, dispatch called the Stanton Fire Department to respond to the fire on Hwy. 31.
At about 3 p.m. the following day firefighters were dispatched again, this time to 26th Street SW. Oliver County responded with three grass units and a tender (water truck), and was joined by two units from the Mandan Rural Fire Department. By the time the blaze was extinguished it had run at least a mile in length, blackening an area estimated at between 100 and 200 acres and consuming an old granary that was no longer in use.