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Sheriff: Fire near protest camp intentionally set

MORTON COUNTY, N.D.--A grass fire that torched the hillsides Sunday across from the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp was intentionally set, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier confirmed Tuesday, Nov. 1.

MORTON COUNTY, N.D.-A grass fire that torched the hillsides Sunday across from the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp was intentionally set, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier confirmed Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Kirchmeier said the fire reported early Sunday is still under investigation, but authorities believe it was intentionally set because individuals were seen leaving the area of the fire.

He estimated the fire damaged 400 acres.

No information was available from the state fire marshal.

People at the main Oceti Sakowin camp said the grass fire started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday on a hill across Highway 1806 from the camp entrance. The fire spread to the northwest, away from the camp that is just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

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North Dakota National Guard helicopters with 600-gallon water water buckets scooped water from Lake Oahe, a dammed section of the Missouri River, and dumped on the fire for more than an hour until about 10 a.m. Sunday.

The Mandan Rural Fire Department was dispatched to the area but couldn't reach the fire because of the terrain, Morton County spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said.

Camp security volunteers sent people with blankets to put out the fire.

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