Most of Bucyrus, ND burns in wildfire

Howe, ID on fire
1st Ave W and 2nd Street, Bucyrus, ND
Bucyrus, ND, before the fire, at 1st Ave. W and 2nd Street. Photo from Google Street View

Most of the structures in Bucyrus, a very small town in North Dakota (map), burned to the ground Wednesday when a fast moving wildfire swept through the community.

“Bucyrus has been pretty much completely lost,” Adams County State’s Attorney Aaron Roseland said.

Scranton Fire Chief Ryan Schumacher said “I’ve never seen anything like this. Everything is burned here. The town is basically gone.”

In the 2000 census Bucyrus had 16 housing units and a population of 26 people.

A few structures were spared from the fire, including a grain elevator on the outskirts of town and a church.

Grain elevator, Bucyrus, ND
A grain elevator outside Bucyrus, ND before the fire. Photo from Google Street View

Red Flag Warnings for extreme fire danger were in effect for the area on Wednesday when the National Weather Service reported sustained wind speeds of 49 mph with gusts of 63 mph at the Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport near Dickinson, ND, about 50 miles north of Bucyrus. At the Sand Creek RAWS weather station 46 miles to the northwest, average wind speeds of 35 to 44 were recorded with gusts as high as 67 during the afternoon and evening.

The fire started at about 3 p.m. Wednesday about a mile west of Bucyrus. The residents evacuated at 5 p.m. and by 8 p.m. US Highway 12 that goes past the town was closed. It reopened early Thursday.

There were reports that the fire was nearly 10 miles long and burned into the night on Wednesday. As of 9 p.m. homes were seen burning or burned to the ground, sending residents fleeing. There were no reports of injuries. As of late Thursday morning the spread of the fire had been stopped.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.