Burgum declares statewide fire emergency; National Guard helicopters deployed to help fight Billings County blaze
BISMARCK, ND (STL.News) Gov. Doug Burgum declared a statewide wildfire emergency, enabling the North Dakota National Guard to deploy two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to help fight a Billings County wildfire that has prompted the evacuation of the city of Medora.
The U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the North Dakota Forest Service, requested the National Guard helicopters with water buckets to help fight the fire southwest of Medora. Local, state and federal agencies are responding, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, and a National Guard ground support crew.
The public is asked to stay away from the area and use caution if passing through due to smoke reducing visibility on roadways, including Interstate 94, which was temporarily closed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
The governor’s emergency declaration can be viewed here.
Earlier Thursday, Burgum had placed the Guard on standby to provide help if additional resources were needed to respond to a growing number of wildfires in North Dakota as extreme drought conditions continue to spread across the state.