Fire fear is becoming a reality all over the Black Hills. So, for the next two weeks a team of fire educators are spreading their knowledge to everyone who will give them a few minutes. Teams of two will travel to campgrounds, fairgrounds, and anywhere there are people to spread the news about fire danger.
Fire Prevention Specialist Larry Helmerick is one of 15 people on the prevention team. Because of the increase in tourists and bikers, he gets to do Smokey the Bear's job. He talks to people letting them know that fire danger is high and tells them how to prevent fires. Some bikers even walk away with a Smokey bandana.
Helmerick says that the prevention team will only be in the hills for a short time, but their message will stay with people. "Thirty percent of the fires in the Black Hills area are human caused; if we can just knock it down a percent that'd be great."
According to Helmerick, there have already been numerous human caused fires in the Black Hills area this year already.