Grand Forks County grass fire caused by 'hot ammo'

A grass fire on Sunday, March 28, burned 250 acres of CRP land, and took about three hours to put out.

Gilby fire department logo graphic .jpg
An emergency vehicle from the Gilby Fire Department responds to a fire in this Herald file photo.

Fire Departments from Emerado, Manvel and Gilby responded to a grass fire that burned about 250 acres northwest of Grand Forks International Airport on the afternoon of Sunday, March 28.

As dry conditions persist and wind speeds increase this week, much of the region is facing elevated fire risk conditions.

The Emerado Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call on 20th Avenue Northeast, at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The department responded with six vehicles, but put in a call of mutual aid to the Manvel and Gilby departments. A total of 10 vehicles responded to the fire, including three ATVs. The fire was extinguished in about three hours.

According to Lt. Cordy Meyer of the Emerado Volunteer Fire Department, the fire approached a few homes, but crews were able to contain it and prevent any property damage. Meyer told the Herald the fire was caused by people using firearms in the area.

“It was actually just a couple of people out doing target shooting, and it was just the hot ammo,” Meyer said.


The National Weather Service in Grand Forks on Monday issued a Red Flag Warning for every eastern county in North Dakota along the Red River Valley. The warning is in effect until 1 a.m. on Tuesday. Red Flag Warnings are issued when there are critical weather conditions, including high winds and low humidity, that can lead to “extreme fire behavior.” Under the weather conditions, any fire could easily spread and become difficult to control. The same warning is in effect for much of Minnesota.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department also is encouraging people to be aware of fire risks. The risk of wildfire increases in the spring, as people look to get outdoors. The department is encouraging people to follow the daily rural fire danger index, issued by the National Weather Service, to alert the public to weather conditions that make it easy for accidental fires to spread. Current fire indexes can be found here, or at .

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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