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A strong smoke smell that awakened residents in Bismarck overnight originated south of Mandan, where straw bales damaged from spring flooding were being burned.

The owner of about 1,000 straw bales that got wet this spring from the waters of a swollen Heart River conducted a controlled burn starting at about 6 p.m. Thursday, Morton County spokeswoman Maxine Herr said. The bales smoldered through the night, and the smoke drifted on light winds.

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The owner of the bales had informed authorities that he would be conducting the burn. The Morton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the fire after receiving calls from Bismarck and Mandan residents. The fire department was not dispatched, as it was determined the fire was too big to be put out.

Herr said the fire was under control and was never a danger to anyone.

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Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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