Spring storm brings temporary relief to fire danger, drought - KOTA Territory News

Spring snow storm brings temporary relief to fire danger, drought


Cancellations, delays, closures, all headaches associated with this spring storm.

But what about the benefits from the moisture this storm brings?

Just a few short weeks ago we were all fearing the worst for this summer, after last summers record breaking fire season.

Now, while this storm won't be the solution to all of our problems, it's definitely a help in the short term.

"Well the fire danger here has been extreme, we haven't had much moisture, and of course our major concern is all the bug trees that surround us," says Ralph & Sandy Kruse, who live in the heart of the pine beetle infestation, on Needles Highway by Sylvan Lake.
"Over the period of the last two or three years the bug just exploded here in the valley," says Kruse.
And the dead trees aren't the only problem, it's that combined with the worst drought in decades that has them on edge.
"We have a French ditch that runs through the property because there's so many springs that are on the side of the hill that run through. April that is pretty much running about a three inch stream, this year there isn't a drop," says Kruse.
Draining into the creek that flows through his property.
"Basically overflow from Sylvan Lake, and it should be running pretty much bank to bank, it might be running about 1/3 of what it should be."
Even after the heavy snow just a few short weeks ago, when Kruse says he measured 14 inches of snow.
"There was very little run off, so that pretty much tells me that as far as sub moisture goes there is very little. So we'll take all this we can get," says Kruse.
State Fire Meteorologist Darren Clabo says this system will bring much of the state one to two inches of liquid moisture.

He says moisture that we're picking up now is just a start, we need to get into an overall wetter pattern.
"I haven't melted it down yet to get the moisture content but it's heavy wet snow," says Kruse.
Just since October alone, we're down more than three inches of moisture in Rapid City.
"It can be a burden in a sense, certainly all this moisture soaks into the earth, runs into the streams, and the water table underneath is a great benefit," says Kruse.

Kruse says he's lived in the hills for the past 30 years and this is just another typical April snowstorm.

We're not out of the woods yet. We will need to get into a much wetter weather pattern.

April into May are some of our wettest months of the year, and we really need those to prove true.

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