Bismarck, ND – Crews are still monitoring a wildfire that broke out in Beulah Monday.
The wind helped the fire spread to 1,500 acres. But that was not the only weather condition that made it difficult on firefighters.
Firefighter Mick Dettmann is working his second shift already on this fire.
“Early this morning about 2 o clock we were released from the scene and went home. Got a little bit of rest and then came out on the second mop up crew this afternoon,” Dettmann said.
Chief Eli Schumann didn’t even get that much rest. He had not slept since Monday.
“Since yesterday about 4:45, I got up,” Schumann said.
He first got the call at 5:45 Monday evening.
“We’ve had units on scene ever since then.”
Units came from all over the area. 100 people at one point helped fight the fire. But it could have been more if there were not other fires in the region.
“One of our mutual aid is the national park service out of Stanton. His crew is out at Medora. He’s a big asset,” Schumann said.
The fire was contained by Monday night, but crews were still out there all day Tuesday.
“Want to make sure we don’t have any embers that flood over into the taller grass,” Dettmann said.
The conditions are perfect for a fire; dry and windy. But the conditions do not just make it easy for the fire. It makes it harder for the crews trying to fight it.
“Even our wildfire gear, you can overheat fast,” Dettmann said
It hit 88 degrees on Tuesday.
“The community donated an extraordinary amount of water for us to hand out to the crews,” Dettmann said.
Drink water, and stick to the buddy system.
“You’re always with somebody else…That way if you get dehydrated and start to feel not good someone is there with you,” he said.
All the water firefighters used has hurt the city’s water supply. Beulah has been under water restrictions for a while now so it could keep water reserves high for emergencies like Monday’s fire.
The city very briefly tightened those restrictions because they were worried about how much water the fire department would need. But Tuesday, the water restrictions were back to normal thanks to some extra help.
“The local power plant and the coal mine south of town helped out with water and actually the construction crew south of here brought some water buffaloes over and gave us a hand with water so we didn’t impact town as much as we could have,” Schumann said.
People in Beulah are not allowed to water on Wednesday, so the city hopes water levels will be back to normal by Wednesday night.