FARGO — Cass County has issued a fire emergency and a ban on open burning through April 6 due to dry, windy conditions across the region.

Later on Tuesday, March 30, neighboring Richland County also issued a similar ban.

Officials ask residents to refrain from burning farmland, cropland, and garbage.

Residents are also required to avoid using fire to demolish structures. Residential campfires are exempt from the ban.

Violators face up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

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The Cass County order was issued by the county commission chairman for seven days. After that time, an extension on the ban must be approved by the full county board.

The county uses input from the National Weather Service, county emergency manager and local fire departments and state officials in determining whether to implement a ban.

Richland County Commission Chairman Tim Campbell said in a release that the county has experienced dry conditions due to minimal rainfall, sustained and abruptly changing winds with frequent gusts of more than 25 mph and an unusually hot and dry spring.

Thus, he said there was an "extreme or very high fire alert."