The Horse Pasture fire on the Little Missouri National Grassland is now 95% contained, and firefighters say wintery weather conditions have helped battle the flames that have burned 5,000 acres.
“The weather is certainly giving firefighters a little extra assistance in suppressing the fire; It is a welcome addition to the firefighting effort”” said Lucas Graf, District Ranger for the McKenzie Ranger District of the Little Missouri National Grassland.
Graf added, “Prior to this weekend’s wintery rain and snow mix, firefighters had reached 90% containment on the fire. We couldn’t have gotten here without the help of local volunteers, VFDs, and first responders. The weather conditions and fire activity on [April] 3rd posed a real challenge to those folks, and they did an amazing job of holding the fire, particularly the finger on the northwest side, until air support and additional ground resources could arrive.”
Firefighters from local, state and federal agencies have been battling the Horse Pasture fire since it was reported on the afternoon of April 3 on the Little Missouri National Grassland near the Horse Pasture Dams just north of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit.
The fire burned land managed by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, State of North Dakota and some private lands. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The McKenzie Ranger District of the Little Missouri National Grassland has lifted a portion of the previous closure order for areas south of the Little Missouri River. Areas reopened include:
- CCC Campground
- The Maah Daah Hey Trail from the CCC Campground South to NFSR 823,
- The Long X and Sunset Trails
- Summit Campground
- The Summit Overlook and Viewpoint Trails.
In cooperation with the Forest Service, McKenzie County reopened Long X Road west of Highway 85 leading to the CCC Campground.
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit will open the 14-mile scenic drive, including pullouts, to vehicles beginning Tuesday, April 13, at 8:00 a.m.
Areas south of the Scenic Drive, including the Juniper Campground and the Group Campground are open, as is the Achenbach trail and the southern section of the Buckhorn Trail.
All areas north of the scenic drive from the park entrance to the Caprock Coulee Nature Trailhead will remain closed to all visitors, including the Buckhorn Trail (north of the Scenic Drive) and the spur to the Caprock Trail.
The Caprock Coulee Nature Trail is open. Backcountry access is prohibited in the closure area, and the backcountry camping permits for the closed areas are rescinded until further notice.
Fire restrictions and area closures will be adjusted as necessary. For current restrictions pertaining to the Little Missouri National Grassland, please visit: www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/dpg/alerts-notices.
And for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, please visit: www.nps.gov/thro.