RAPID CITY, S.D. – The South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression is asking ranchers and farmers to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires when harvesting.
The dry fuel conditions along with the warm and windy weather the state is experiencing make conditions ripe for extremely fast-moving prairie fires.
State Wildland Fire Division Director Jay Esperance strongly advises precautions, such as having a disk in the field, locating water tanks nearby and blowing chaff off combines to minimize the potential for fires.
"We are looking at high to very high fire danger for the western portion of the state. We need to be cautious that we don't inadvertently start fires," Esperance said.
West River counties are experiencing a high to very high fire danger, especially these counties: Lawrence, Butte, Pennington, Meade, Custer, Harding, Perkins and Fall River.
The outlook for Friday is for the grassland fire danger to reach the very high to extreme categories.
A fire will start easily in the dry conditions and have the potential to become large and erratic, with extreme fire behavior. If a burn ban is in place in a county, no outdoor burning should take place.