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A man who set off fireworks on a sandbar south of Sibley Park started a fire on adjacent grassland Wednesday night, prompting authorities to remind the public about dry conditions and the fire danger.

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department received a report at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday from a man who reported what sounded like gunshots in the 5500 block of South Washington Street, said Chief Deputy Kelly Leben.

Deputies observed a vehicle stuck on a trail with a male outside the vehicle trying to put out a sizable fire, Leben said. The Bismarck Rural Fire Department extinguished the fire, which affected about a half acre of grassland that’s managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Leben said.

Police issued a citation for violating the burn ban and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, to Austin Krein, 24. Krein told deputies he had been detonating fireworks before the fire started, Leben said.

Burleigh County has declared a fire emergency and instituted a burn ban that is in effect when the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Rating for Burleigh County is very high or extreme or when a red flag warning has been issued.

“It is starting to green up, but with the burn ban in effect, people need to be very, very cautious and check before you burn,” Leben said.

The Fire Danger Rating is available at www.nd.gov/des. More information about Burleigh County’s burn ban is available at www.burleighco.com/departments/em/fire.

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(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or Amy.Dalrymple@bismarcktribune.com)

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