North Dakota governor declares fire emergency

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 6:32 PM

(Reuters) - North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple declared a fire emergency in the state on Wednesday as the second-largest U.S. oil producer grapples with incendiary conditions amid little precipitation and high winds.

The order comes after more than 700 acres of grassland were singed by a blaze sparked by an errant cigarette in Mercer County, not far from the state's main oil-producing region.

The order forbids burning in areas where fire marshals have labeled chances of fire as "high," "very high" or "extreme."

"The weather conditions have created a serious fire threat," Dalrymple, a Republican who became governor in 2010, said in a statement. "I have directed state agencies to be at the ready if their assistance is needed, so we can help local and tribal officials in their efforts to save lives and protect property."

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Leslie Adler)