Most of the protesters left the encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, by Wednesday’s deadline. Ten were arrested and up to 50 remaining demonstrators must leave Thursday, Burgum said.
Remnants of the camp went up in flames Wednesday as protesters set fire to the wooden housing as part of a departure ceremony. About 20 fires were set and two people, a 7-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, suffered burns. Authorities said they were taken to a Bismarck hospital but didn’t elaborate on their conditions.
“No matter what happens, we encourage everyone to remain peaceful and reiterate that our utmost concern at this time is the safety and well-being of all parties,” the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said in a statement.
The encampment is on federal land between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the pipeline route that the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is constructing. When complete, the $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile pipeline will carry oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline is almost complete, the stumbling block being a controversial section that runs under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe.
The tribe claims the pipeline threatens its drinking water and cultural sites. Legal efforts to block or further delay completion of the pipeline, led by the tribe and environmental groups, have been turned aside by the courts.
The protesters stayed on the federal land for six months. Hundreds of officers from several states were on hand to handle arrests, according to NBC News.