Volunteers will start filling sandbags in Fargo and Moorhead Monday, and city officials say they want sandbags ready before an expected spring flood.
Last year, volunteers filled six million sandbags in eight days to fight record-high waters. Moorhead City Manager Michael Redlinger said he expects volunteers will step forward again.
"We've actually had some excitement and some people saying we'd rather get at it now when we can have a bit more of a casual pace," Redlinger said. "It's not as hurried and frantic as it is on March 25 or April 1. I think the people will turn out.
"It's really an opportunity; even if they have an hour or two hours to give they can really be helping the community prepare itself."
Redlinger said even though there's no imminent crisis he expects a good volunteer response.
"I know they will turn out, I know they will do whatever it takes to protect their community," he said. "That's the one thing we see every single year. The spirit of the people here is virtually unbreakable. They are able to get out and do whatever it takes to make sure their neighborhood is protected, their friends are protected. I'm confident they'll turn out."
Redlinger said Moorhead hopes to have 300,000 to 500,000 sandbags in reserve. Fargo officials want to fill one million bags in advance.
Hours are now set for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The city is providing shovels. Volunteers should bring their own gloves.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)