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Published September 23 2012

Watford City-area grasslands fire spreads to 600 acres

WATFORD CITY, N.D. — What began as a small grass fire Friday afternoon has spread to more than 600 acres in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands area about 30 miles southwest of Watford City in western North Dakota.

KFYR-TV reports that the fire has closed down the Maah Deah Hey Trail and the Bennett Campground.

About 80 people are working to contain the fire, and a helicopter is being used to drop water on the blaze.

Dakota Prairie Grasslands district ranger Jay Frederick says temperatures were expected to drop near freezing overnight, which would help firefighters.

Rangers have taken precautionary measures to protect some ranchers near the fire, but there has been no property damage so far. The cause of the fire is under investigation.