Hunters advised to be vigilant as wildfire risk increases

The North Dakota Forest Service sent a press release on Friday, Nov. 4.

Fire crews attempt to put out wildfires on Interstate 29 outside of Manvel, N.D., on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)
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GRAND FORKS — As hunting season begins, the risk for unintentional wildfires increases.

According to a press release from Beth Hill, the outreach and education manager at the North Dakota Forest Service, wildfire risk in North Dakota remains high this fall — particularly in rural areas.

In order for a fire to start, there needs to be oxygen, fuel and a heat source. Throughout the fall months, dry grasses and vegetation act as a fuel source. Oxygen remains readily available in the air.

"All that is needed to start a fire is a heat source, which often is the result of human activity," the release says.

2021 data identifies debris burning and equipment use as the most common culprits of human-caused wildfires.


Exhaust systems on road and recreational vehicles can reach significantly high temperatures. Due to this, hunters are advised to avoid driving or parking on tall, dry grass.

Hunters are also instructed to ensure all recreational vehicles have a spark arrestor — a device that traps "larger hot exhaust particles that have been expelled by internal combustion engines," according to the release.

Trailer chains should not drag along the ground, as they can create sparks on the road capable of starting a fire.

Hunters are advised to pack a shovel, a five-gallon can of water and a fire extinguisher.

The release stresses the importance of never leaving a campfire unattended, and ensuring campfires are extinguished properly.

"Use plenty of water to extinguish all of the embers. Keep a shovel nearby to stir the contents of your fire pit until it is cold to the touch. If camp is not near a water source, use dirt to extinguish the embers and mix until cool," the release says.

It is inadvisable to use dirt to cover a fire without mixing the contents, because the embers could continue to smolder and have the potential to spread under windy conditions.

The release asks hunters to "do their part" by being observant and reporting any wildfires to authorities.


Hunters are advised to check current conditions before leaving for hunting trips at, where they can assess the level of fire danger, learn about ongoing burn bans and conditions for red flag warnings. In doing so, hunters can "adjust or postpone their activities as needed," the release says.

"Taking these prevention measures will help protect homes, lives, and the beautiful wildlife habitat that North Dakota has to offer," the release says.

Sav Kelly joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 2022.

Kelly covers public safety, including local crime and the courts system.

Readers can reach Kelly at (701) 780-1102 or
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