BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Smoke from wildfires is being blamed for a multiple-vehicle pileup on Interstate 29 in northeastern North Dakota that sent eight people to the hospital.

The crash involved at least seven vehicles. Two semitrailers also collided near the scene. It happened Wednesday near Manvel while hundreds of firefighters were working to contain multiple grass fires along a 60-mile stretch of the highway.

Transportation officials shut down the interstate from Grand Forks to the Canadian border for a time due to the smoke.

The Highway Patrol says injuries in the pileup ranged from minor to critical.

A statewide fire emergency is in effect until the end of April. Grass fires have popped up around the state. Causes include an abandoned campfire, farm equipment and a natural gas flare at an oil well.

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