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The man charged with violating a burn ban in lighting fireworks on a sandbar south of Bismarck last week is now charged in connection to another riverside fire.

Austin Krein, 24, is charged with felony endangering by fire or explosion, related to a riverbank grassfire at Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site north of Bismarck. Burleigh County Chief Deputy Kelly Leben said deputies responded around 9 p.m. Saturday after Morton County residents reported the fire from across the river.

Leben said the fire was about 40 yards in diameter. Court documents say Krein told the officers he started the fire to “burn off undergrowth," after which "he was going to plant trees, specifically ‘cannabis trees.’”

The Bismarck Rural Fire Department extinguished the fire. Leben said there were no damages other than the burn area and no injuries. Court documents say the fire could have spread to homes south of the historic site.

Krein is held at the Burleigh Morton County Detention Center, pending $2,500 cash bond.

Burleigh County has an active burn ban dependent upon weather conditions. Leben said the ban was not active at the time of the fire.

Krein is charged with misdemeanor violation of a burn ban and criminal mischief from the fire last Wednesday. Leben said Krein told deputies he is homeless.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or


Crime and Courts Reporter