South Dakota wildlife officials are asking grouse hunters to take precautions to avoid starting grass fires.
The grouse and prairie chicken hunting season begins Saturday.
Assistant State Wildlife Director Emmett Keyser says the drought has created extremely high fire danger in the grasslands where grouse are found. He says hunters should carry fire extinguishers, shovels and water in vehicles in case they need to fight a fire.
Keyser says vehicles should not be parked over dry grass or driven off designated roads or trails.
He says the Department of Game, Fish and Parks will have an airplane flying over the Fort Pierre National Grasslands on Saturday to spot and prevent fires in the popular grouse-hunting area. State and federal wildlife crews also will monitor the area.