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Published July 19, 2012, 10:05 AM

Dry conditions lead to fire dangers in downtown Fargo

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Much of the country is experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, and the Red River Valley is no exception. Combined with irresponsible adults, these dry conditions are leading to fires in downtown Fargo. The cause - cigarettes.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Much of the country is experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, and the Red River Valley is no exception. Combined with irresponsible adults, these dry conditions are leading to fires in downtown Fargo. The cause - cigarettes.

Maggie Kaspari – Sammy’s Pizza Employee: “One of our employees saw someone flick a cigarette into the tinder, and then we had a woman come in and say you have a fire outside.”

The damage is obvious, burnt bushes, scorched mulch and not surprisingly, cigarette butts everywhere. Sammy's Pizza Employee Maggie Kaspari says employees rushed out, throwing buckets onto the flames, but nothing happened.

Maggie Kaspari: “By the time the fire department came they were out here about 15 minutes trying to put it out, but it went up in seconds.”

Just down the street, another fire Monday afternoon; this one just outside the Kinghouse Buffet. One store employee snapped this photo, calling the blaze minor, but unexpected and scary. Downtown Community Partnership president Mike Hahn says he has never seen anything like this.

Mike Hahn – CEO, Downtown Community Partnership: “We're teaming up with the city and the park district, making sure that all the irrigation systems are working throughout the Broadway district.”

Hahn says crews like this have been combing over every sprinkler head along Broadway to make sure all are in working order for the this week's street fair. The plan is to soak the areas overnight to limit the chance of anything like this happening with tens of thousands of people around.

Still, some of the responsibility lies with the public.

Mike Hahn: “Don't flick it anyplace, make sure that you smother it, take care of it and extinguish it in a proper manner.”

Many of those mulch patches are soaking wet, this morning, but nothing is a guarantee. Officials ask that if you you are going to the street fair and smoking, to be smart and use cigarette receptacles.

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