- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) - Lightning is the likely cause of a fire at a saltwater disposal site in McKenzie County.

It happened late Monday afternoon south of Alexander at an operation owned by 1804 Operating.

Company president Fred Kershisnik told The Associated Press they’re trying to confirm the cause but suspects lightning. The county emergency manager and health department inspector were on the scene and agreed with that initial assessment.

Fires were still burning at mid-evening. Oil and saltwater were spilled on the ground, but it wasn’t clear how much.

Saltwater is a natural byproduct of oil production. It’s considered an environmental hazard and needs to be disposed of in special facilities.

In June alone, two of the state’s more than 440 active saltwater disposal sites were destroyed by fires triggered by lightning strikes.

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