Emergency officials: We won’t let pipeline protesters freeze

A woman watches the sunset at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Hundreds of protesters fighting the Dakota Access pipeline have shrugged off the heavy snow, icy winds and frigid temperatures that have swirled around their large encampment. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A woman watches the sunset at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Hundreds of protesters fighting the Dakota Access pipeline have shrugged off the heavy snow, icy winds and frigid temperatures that have swirled around their large encampment. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota emergency management officials say they are prepared to help Dakota Access pipeline protesters who may need help during a winter storm or some other crisis.

State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz says it would be a challenge during a mass evacuation, but the state will be “humane in anything and everything” it does.

Morton County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Rob Keller says all the responding officers are now from North Dakota and are “more than prepared” for harsh conditions with warming houses and cold weather gear.

The government has ordered protesters to leave the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires camp, on federal land in southern North Dakota by Monday. Demonstrators say they’re prepared to stay until changes are made to the route of the four-state, $3.8-billlion pipeline.