The Morton County Commission has declared a Fire Emergency and Burn Ban, effective immediately and until further notice.

According to the commission, the most recent North Dakota drought monitor update shows much of Morton County is in a severe drought. With an abundance of dry prairie grasses and other vegetation, the area has already either sustained or been threatened with grass and vegetation fires. 

The declaration bans fires in unenclosed spaces such as burning leaves, grass clippings, garbage pits, construction debris, fallen trees, crop residue or hay land, sloughs and bonfires.

Fires should not be started on days when the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Rating is in the High, Very High or Extreme category and/or a Red Flag Warning has been issued for Morton County.

You can check the daily Fire Danger Rating here.

Additionally, when towing any kind of trailer, ensure that chains are not dragging on the ground. Dragging chains cause sparks, which can ignite a wildland fire.

Also, use caution when driving on dry brush or grass as hot exhaust pipes can also ignite wildland fires which may not be noticed until it’s too late.

The penalty for violation of the burn ban is a Class B Misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

If the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Rating is in the Low or Moderate category, the public should contact State Radio at 701-328-9921 to request a controlled burn. After the burning is completed and the fire is out, contact State Radio at 701-328-9921 again to inform them of the completion.