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Wildfire in western N.D. 95 percent contained

Smoke from the fire in the Little Missouri National Grasslands near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in far western North Dakota is coming under control. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Highway Patrol

BISMARCK — Crews have the wildfire in the Little Missouri National Grassland 95 percent contained and are beginning cleanup efforts, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said Monday.

About 45 people remain on scene of the Magpie fire in western North Dakota with the focus shifting to restoration of the land.

“When the fire is out, our job doesn’t stop,” said Treva Slaughter, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. “Our job is to restore the prairie back to the way it looked before.”

About 5,400 acres were damaged by the fire, but crews plan to do additional mapping to get a more precise estimate, Slaughter said. The fire began July 8, and the cause is still unknown.

An incident management team from Idaho had been on scene but has returned home and transitioned command of the fire over to Dakota Prairie Grasslands.

Slaughter commended the initial response from volunteer firefighters.

“If it hadn’t have been for the volunteers and our partner agencies, we’d probably be looking at a different picture,” Slaughter said. “It made it easy for the team to come in and pick up where they left off.”

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