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Burgum declares statewide fire, drought emergency

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum proclaimed a statewide fire and drought emergency Monday, ordering state agencies to “maintain high levels of readiness.”

The executive order activates the State Emergency Operations Plan and authorizes the North Dakota National Guard to activate if needed.

Drought conditions and high winds have created a fire emergency in North Dakota. The U.S. Drought Monitor report released last week showed 8 percent of the state in extreme drought, 32 percent in severe drought, 27 percent in moderate drought and 33 percent abnormally dry.

The conditions have increased the fire risk for North Dakota, with 30 counties issuing emergency declarations, burn bans or other fire restrictions so far.

“These conditions present a serious threat to the health and safety of local area citizens and their personal property,” Burgum said in a statement. “Significant manpower and equipment will be required for response and recovery operations.”

Last week, Burgum directed the Department of Emergency Services and other state agencies to coordinate drought and wildfire planning and response efforts. The group met for the first time on Monday in a meeting that was closed to the public.

Information about drought and fire conditions, including counties with burn bans and fireworks restrictions, is available at NDresponse.gov.

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