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Published April 07, 2013, 11:38 AM

Forest Service apologizes for Dakotas fire

HETTINGER, N.D. (AP) — A U.S. Forest Service official has apologized for a fire that burned more than 16 square miles of Dakotas grassland.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

HETTINGER, N.D. (AP) — A U.S. Forest Service official has apologized for a fire that burned more than 16 square miles of Dakotas grassland.

At meeting in Hettinger, N.D., on Saturday, Grand River District Ranger Paul Hancock told nearly 100 farmers and ranchers that the Forest Service regrets that the planned 130-acre prescribed burn southeast of Hettinger escaped containment Wednesday. The Dickinson Press (http://bit.ly/Xm775l ) reports that Hancock says he gave the go-ahead for the burn.

No injuries have been reported. The fire burned about 10,800 acres between Hettinger and the South Dakota towns of Buffalo and Lemmon.

The Forest Service says it plans to compensate landowners for damage to fences, hay bales and anything else that burned.

Residents say the Forest Service did not listen to warnings about conducting the controlled burn.

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