CARPIO, N.D. — The small town of Carpio in north-central North Dakota was evacuated on Friday afternoon, April 30, due to the threat of a grass fire.

Despite high winds and dry conditions, emergency crews managed to put out the fire within a few hours of when they were first dispatched, according to Burlington Fire Chief Karter Lesmann.

The fire burned about 75 acres, mostly grass and trees, and caused no structural damage, Lesmann said. No one was injured.

Firefighters believe a down power line ignited the blaze just outside of Carpio, said Berthold Police Chief Al Schmidt. Schmidt said he is grateful so many departments showed up quickly, otherwise the grass fire may have reached the town.

At about 2 p.m. Friday, authorities called for an immediate evacuation of Carpio, Lesmann said. Crews were able to quell the fire at the edge of the town before it spread to any structures.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

At about 5 p.m. authorities announced the fire was out and that it was safe to return to the town, Schmidt said. Carpio, about 27 miles northwest of Minot, has a population of 157 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

North Dakota is in a severe drought, with almost 83% of the state facing "extreme drought" conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Crews will watch over the burned acres near Carpio through the night in case flames rekindle, Lesmann said. Authorities urge locals to call 911 if they see smoke.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.