Flood-fighting efforts ramped up in Fargo, N.D. Wednesday, with city officials announcing criminals sentenced to community service would have to help sandbag.


High school students get ready to make sandbags. (CBC)

The city's sandbagging centre opened Wednesday morning and hundreds of volunteers began the task of making one million bags over the next 10 days.

Many of the volunteers are high school students bused in from around the city.

Others, like Mike Benson, are there because they have faced the rising water before and know what it takes to fight back.

"You kind of know you can't do it all yourself. You can't work for like a week straight, man the pumps, man your sump pump, build the dike, take care of the dike. You need help and this is a way I can give back to the community," said Benson, who was helped during the 1997 flood.

Those volunteers will be joined by criminals who have been sentenced to community service.

City officials said in a release that anyone who is "capable of performing physical labour" is being ordered to participate in the city’s sandbagging operations.

Meanwhile, evening flood meetings are underway to show residents the city's flood plan.

"Our property's one of the ones very much at stake and in the game, so it’s very pertinent information for us to be here," said Gene Redmond, who was at the first meeting on Tuesday night.

The U.S. National Weather Service says there’s a 95 per cent chance there will be major flooding on the Red River in Fargo.

As of Wednesday night, 94,000 sandbags had been produced at Fargo’s Sandbag Central location.