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FARGO, N.D.- Volunteers in the Fargo area have started their fourth major flood fight in five years, but improvements in flood protection have most residents optimistic about holding back the Red River.

The cities of Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., have taken homes out of the flood plain and added miles of fortified concrete floodwalls and clay levees since a record flood of 2009 caused millions of dollars in damage.

The National Weather Service says there's a 50 percent the river will reach 38 feet in Fargo-Moorhead, which is 20 feet higher than the point when the river leaves its banks. At that level, Fargo would need to sandbag 117 homes and Moorhead only seven.

Fargo kicked off sandbag making operations Wednesday with plans of filling 1 million bags in 10 days.

DAVE KOLPACK, Associated Press