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Forum Communications, Published September 10 2012

Residents smell smoke in Dickinson, but where’s the fire?

DICKINSON, N.D. - Warm temperatures in southwest North Dakota and the “peculiar conditions” had residents wondering what was on fire Monday.

A smoke smell filled the air and Stark County was “flooded with calls” from concerned citizens, Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said.

“It’s not unreasonable that on windy days they can carry over from Montana,” he said of the smell.

The National Weather Service’s Bismarck office also got its fair share of calls, mostly from Dickinson.

Meteorologist Bill Abeling said satellite images show the smoke blew in from Idaho and southwest Montana wildfires.

The warm temperature of more than 90 F Monday afternoon and windy conditions pushed the smoke over southwest North Dakota, he said.

Though the smell was from afar, much of western North Dakota was under red flag warnings Monday, which means strong wind and low humidity creates conditions favorable for rapid-spreading fires, according to the NWS.