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North Dakota firefighters to aid Hurricane Ida recovery in Louisiana

The six firefighters — two from Bismarck Rural and four from Williston — gathered Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Bismarck to receive instructions. They plan to convoy to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the next two days.

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From left to right, Lydia Citta and Scott Nelson of the Bismarck Rural Fire Department, and Colton Gutknecht, Mike Walters, Paul Riley and Juan Wagner of the Williston Fire Department. The group plans to travel to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Ida recovery. Special to The Forum

BISMARCK — An outfit of North Dakota firefighters will head to Louisiana this week to help Gulf Coast residents recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

Gov. Doug Burgum has given the green light for a 6-person team from the Bismarck Rural and Williston fire departments to deploy to the storm-ravaged region, according to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

The six firefighters — two from Bismarck Rural and four from Williston — gathered Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Bismarck to receive instructions. They plan to convoy to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the next two days.

In Louisiana, the North Dakota firefighters will use their 2,500-gallon and 3,000-gallon water tenders to help Baton Rouge fire officials suppress structure fires.

Additionally on Saturday, four firefighters from the Dickinson Fire Department and another four firefighters from the Williston Fire Department, as well as one firefighter from the Williston Rural Fire Department and a city of Williston public works employee left for Baton Rouge to help with recovery efforts.

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North Dakota has a history of providing emergency support to other states, including Louisiana (2005 hurricane), Mississippi (2011 flooding), Puerto Rico (2017 hurricane), Florida (2017 hurricane), Hawaii (2018 volcano), Oklahoma (2019 flooding and tornadoes) and Oregon (2020 wildfires).

“We have sent resources and personnel to help as far back as Hurricane Katrina in 2005," said North Dakota Homeland Security Director Cody Schulz. "Likewise, Louisiana has lent law enforcement support to us in past emergencies."

The group of North Dakota firefighters is expected to return in late September.

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