A planned controlled burn of an area that hadn’t seen maintenance for 20 years got out of control at the Bismarck, N.D., golf course, exacerbated by dry conditions, wind and steep ravines, ultimately burning hay fields off the property. The club said it received the go-ahead for the burn by Burleigh County Combined Communications.
Hawktree Golf Club in Bismarck, N.D., lost control of a planned controlled burn on the northwest edge of the course on March 10, burning about 60 acres of land including some stubble and hay fields off the golf course, the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune reported.
Dry conditions, wind and steep ravines set up the dangerous situation, said Bismarck Rural Fire Department Chief Michael Voigt. “It was nothing you could get to real easy,” he said.
Voigt got the call around 12:05 p.m. and dispatched seven trucks with 15 firefighters. His team arrived within 10 minutes and contained the fire within 30 minutes. The fire was out by 2 p.m., the Tribune reported.
Eric Stromstad, golf course superintendent, planned to burn an area that hadn’t seen any maintenance or control for 20 years, with the aim of getting rid of potential fire hazards and clearing perennial weeds, the Tribune reported.
“We took every precaution we could,” said Stromstad, even alerting Burleigh County Combined Communications, who he said gave him the go-ahead. But “there was so much growth,” he said. It got “bigger than we could control.”
Though there is no burn ban in place, Voigt recommends people use “extreme caution” when lighting fires. Anyone starting a fire should first look up the “fire weather forecast” on the National Weather Service, check the Burleigh County Emergency website for burn bans and notices and use “good common sense,” he said.