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Firefighters making progress on North Dakota wildfires

BISMARCK (AP) — Firefighters are making progress on two large wildfires burning in western North Dakota, authorities said Sunday.

The Roosevelt Creek Fire in the Little Missouri National Grassland and a fire on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation together have burned nearly 19 square miles of remote terrain. No injuries have been reported.

The Roosevelt Creek Fire on Sunday was 60% contained, up from 10% on Saturday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze grew from 1,100 acres on Friday to 4,000 acres on Saturday, pushed by wind gusts of 35 mph, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

Firefighting efforts have been aided by an air tanker and three National Guard Black Hawk helicopters, the Forest Service said.

The 8,000-acre fire burning about 10 miles south of Mandaree was 50% contained Sunday, according to Marle Baker, fire management officer for the Three Affiliated Tribes and chief of the Mandaree Volunteer Fire Department. Authorities suspect a burning coal seam started the blaze Saturday.

The National Weather Service said rain was falling in some areas Sunday and a more favorable forecast was on tap after days of hot, dry and windy conditions. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s and 60s through Thursday, with a chance of rain Tuesday and Wednesday.