What a difference a year can make.  Last years pheasant opener, we were greeted to 2 to 3 feet of snow over much of the state.  This year however, we're expecting 3 warm and windy days in a row.  The highly anticipated North Dakota pheasant season opens tomorrow, and officials warn that the fire danger is very high in the state.  The drought monitor in North Dakota has expanded.  Much of North Dakota is now in a severe drought.  Here's the latest map.

 

Officials are warning hunters to be careful this weekend. Very dry, warm and windy conditions are expected. Grass fires can start easily with these conditions. Avoid driving or parking your vehicle in tall grass. Never, EVER throw a burning cigarette out of a vehicle. This is something I see people doing daily in the city. When hunters are pulling a trailer, make sure the safety chains are secured and not dragging on the road. The sparks from this can ignite roadside grass fires.  Also be sure to look behind you while driving away from a dry area, to make sure your vehicle did not initiate a developing fire.

According to an article in the Bismarck Tribune,  many counties across the state have issued burn bans.  You should also be aware of any Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service over the weekend.  Again, very windy and warm weather is expected for most of the state this weekend.  The fire danger will be elevated across the state.  Much of the best pheasant range in the state is in the severe drought range.  (Including most of Burleigh County)  Use extreme caution when traveling down field roads especially.