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Hunter's ATV caused 900-acre northeast ND fire

Flames burn along Grand Forks Country Road 3 east of Gliby, N.D. Tuesday afternoon as firefighters set up a perimeter around the blaze. No one was hurt and no property was damaged. Andrew Hazzard/Forum News Service

GILBY, N.D.—A large brush fire that burned through nearly 1,000 acres of farmland east of Gilby in northeast North Dakota was caused by a hunter's all-terrain vehicle, according to the Gilby Volunteer Fire Department.

The hunter was setting up in a field when his ATV sparked something at about 3:30 p.m Tuesday, according to Greg Moen with the Gilby Fire Department.

The hunter immediately called 911.

Volunteer firefighters from Gilby, Emerado, Manvel and Larimore all worked to contain the blaze, which burned about 900 acres designated as conservation reserve land.

Firefighters set up a perimeter around the field with the goal of keeping the fire contained and letting it burn out. The fire had largely subsided by about 9 p.m., Moen said, but flared up again at about 2 a.m.

Landowner Mike McEnroe said the land had been cut for hay during the summer to assist ranchers in western North Dakota experiencing serious drought conditions. He said there was no property lost and that the fire might actually end up saving him some work.

Moen said he appreciated how fast volunteer firefighters from across the area responded and worked well together. He said there is usually at least one large brush fire in farmland in the area each year.

"Last year it was Manvel, this year I guess it was our turn," Moen said.

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