Burleigh County North Dakota printer friendly page
Emergency Management


Open Fires Banned on Oahe WMA, Surrounding Areas
Thu, 04/18/2019

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting open burning this spring on property managed 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 propane 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 General Sibley Park, East Sibley Park, Kimball Bottoms and MacLean Bottoms managed by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District; Kimball Bottoms Off Highway Vehicle Area managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and Little Heart Bottoms 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.

View map, click here.

April 27, 2018: Burn Ban Tied to Fire Rating in Effect EXPIRED October 1, 2018

Burleigh County has declared a Fire Emergency and instituted a Burn Ban effective April 27 thru October 1, 2018.

The burn ban is in effect when the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Rating for Burleigh County is "Very High" or "Extreme" and/or a Red Flag Warning has been issued.

What's Included
Open Burning: Includes burning of leaves, grass clippings, garbage/pits, construction debris,
fallen trees, crop residue or hay land, sloughs, and campfires/bonfires.

What's Excluded
Controlled Devices: Only when device (gas, charcoal, or wood-fired grills; patio fireplaces
and chimineas; gas camp stoves; and smokers) is on a hard, non-organic surface and 15'
away from vegetation and an extinguisher or water is available on site.


The Fire Danger Rating is available ND Department of Emergency Services' website: http://www.nd.gov/des/

Please continue to follow the Controlled Burn Procedures below.

Picture of a campfire
Controlled Burn Procedures

Burleigh County has controlled burn procedures for area residents. Landowners, equipment operators and outdoor enthusiasts are requested to take proper precautions during all open burning situations:

  • Citizens should contact the Central Dakota Communications Center at 223-9111 before a controlled burn is started so that emergency responders are not dispatched for reports of a fire when it is a controlled burn. Be prepared to give your name, contact number, location of controlled burn, and anticipated duration of the burn. After the burning is completed and the fire is out, again contact the Central Dakota Communications Center to inform them of the completion.

  • A controlled burn needs to be physically monitored at all times. Once the fire is started, don't walk away until the fire is completely out.

  • Be prepared if the fire gets out of hand. Call 911 immediately and have resources available to mitigate the effects (water, extinguisher, shovels, tractor).

Residents are urged to follow the precautions in the ND Rural Fire Danger Guide which lists the outdoor activity guidelines for the five fire danger ratings (Low, Moderate, High, Very High, and Extreme). Open burning is strongly discouraged when the Fire Rating is in the High, Very High, or Extreme Category AND during a Red Flag Warning.

North Dakota Rural Fire Danger Guide Front Page
ND Rural Fire Danger Guide
Residents are urged to follow the precautions in the ND Rural Fire Danger Guide which lists the outdoor activity guidelines for the five danger ratings (Low, Medium, High, Very High, and Extreme).

The daily fire rating is available on the ND Department of Emergency Services' website each morning during fire season.

Back to website