North Dakota Forest Service


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Wildfire Risk Still High as Hunting Commences

Deer211/4/2022 – Hunting is an opportunity for many families to spend time together, while teaching younger generations about conservation and caring for the land and natural resources. But hunting season brings an increase for the potential of human caused fires, and a consequential need for fire safety to ensure our natural resources remain for all to enjoy.

The risk of wildfire remains high this fall in North Dakota, particularly in rural areas. For a fire to start, oxygen, fuel and a heat source are needed. In the fall, drying grasses and vegetation often act as that fuel source, and oxygen is 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 most common causes of human-caused wildfires in North Dakota in 2021 were debris burning and equipment use. Hunters are encouraged to “know before you go”, by checking current conditions on the website. Here, they can monitor daily fire danger, learn about burn bans in effect, conditions for red flag warnings, and adjust or postpone their activities as needed.

Exhaust systems on road and recreation vehicles can reach high temperatures. Because of this, hunters should avoid driving over and parking on tall, dry grass. Be sure recreational vehicles are equipped with a spark arrestor. The devices work by trapping larger hot exhaust particles that have been expelled by internal combustion engines. Keep trailer chains from dragging, which can create sparks on road that could lead to a fire. Hunters are also encouraged to pack a shovel, a 5-gallon can of water, and a fire extinguisher with their hunting gear.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Before going to bed or leaving to scout in the morning, take the time to properly extinguish a campfire. 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. Simply covering a fire with dirt may allow embers to continue to smolder and spread under windy conditions.

Hunters are asked to do their part. They are urged to remain watchful and report any wildfires to authorities. Taking these prevention measures will help protect homes, lives, and the beautiful wildlife habitat that North Dakota has to offer. To learn more about how you can prevent unwanted, human caused wildfires, visit the Smokey Bear website at

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