Downed power lines turned a statewide Red Flag Day into an evacuation of the popular resort town of Medora Thursday.
The fire, which burned approximately 3,000 acres to the west of the community on Interstate 94 also closed the four-lane highway for several hours April 1.
The Medora fire is under control, but the extreme fire conditions have continued to impact the western part of the state.
The fire conditions in the region are extreme, according to a National Forest Service spokesperson.
“Another fire was reported on USDA Forest Service national grasslands on Saturday that started burning into the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This fire is currently estimated at 30 percent contained burning roughly 1000 acres. Bravo unit and two air tankers were called in for assistance from South Dakota yesterday; the tankers delivered one drop each.
This fire is in very rough, inaccessible terrain and extreme drought conditions make fire suppression difficult, but responders are working diligently to contain the blaze. At this time, the North Unit visitor center and housing values are at risk. The North Unit of the park is closed at this time, as well as the CCC Campground across the Little Missouri River to the south of the park.
High and very high fire danger continues through all parts of North Dakota, a red flag warning was issued again Sunday for the western half of North Dakota. Residents are reminded to be vigilant and cooperative as responders battle these wildfires.
As of Sunday evening, the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is still closed as is the USFS CCC Campground across the Little Missouri River to the south of the Park.
The U.S. Forest Service-Dakota Prairie Grasslands issued a closure Saturday or the area affected by the wildfire. This includes the Buffalo Gap Trail from I-94 southeast to its intersection with the Maah Daah Hey Trail, and the Maah Daah Hey Trail from the National Park Boundary south to Sully Creek State Park. The order is to protect public health and safety, and is in effect until further notice, according to a spokesman.
According to Billings County Fire Chief Kyle Schockley, Thursday was the first time Medora was called to be evacuated. In addition, an oilfield crew from a site three miles south of the community was also evacuated Thursday.
Ironically, the fire endangered the famous Burning Hills Amphitheater, the home of the Medora Musical. The fire came close but reportedly did not damage the stage.
The Medora fire drew units from throughout North Dakota and parts of Montana.