Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Fire Danger Index for Fall Outdoor Activity

As hunting seasons and other fall outdoor activities get underway, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters, anglers and other enthusiasts to be aware of the daily fire danger index.

 

Recent high daytime temperatures, combined with typical dry, late-summer ground conditions, has caused an elevated fire danger index in some counties that will influence outdoor activities.

 

Hunters are urged to keep up with the daily rural fire danger index, issued by the National Weather Service, to alert the public to conditions that may be conducive to accidental starting or spread of fires.

 

In addition, county governments have the authority to adopt penalties for violations of county restrictions related to burning bans. These restrictions apply regardless of the daily fire danger index and remain in place until each county’s commission rescinds the ban.

 

The fire danger index can change daily depending on temperature, wind and precipitation forecasts. If the index reaches the extreme category, open burning is prohibited; off-road travel with a motorized vehicle is prohibited, except for people engaged in a trade, business or occupation where it is required; and smoking is restricted to inside of vehicles, hard surface areas, homes or in approved buildings.

 

Information on current fire danger indexes is available at NDResponse.gov.

Open Fires Banned on Oahe WMA, Surrounding Areas

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting open burning this spring on public property it manages south of Bismarck and Mandan, as a means to reduce potential for wildfires on a heavily wooded recreation area along the Missouri River.

Bill Haase, wildlife resource management supervisor, said all open burning, including campfires, is banned until further notice on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area along both sides of the Missouri River. While the use of portable grills is allowed, extreme caution is advised due to the heavily vegetated area.

Haase said these woodlands are prone to wildfires prior to spring green-up. Mild temperatures and a high fuel load in the river bottoms are a cause for concern, he said, in addition to being a high use area for anglers, campers and other outdoor recreationists.

In addition to Oahe WMA, surrounding areas included in the open burn ban include Kimball Bottoms and Maclean Bottoms managed by Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, Desert Off Road Vehicle Area managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Graner Park managed by Morton County Parks.

Oahe WMA covers more than 16,000 acres along Lake Oahe south of Bismarck-Mandan, in portions of Burleigh, Emmons, and Morton counties. Burning restriction signs are posted at all entrances to the WMA.