Beware of fire danger in the Black Hills

With wildfires ravaging California and other Western states -- just how much do we need to worry about fire danger here in South Dakota?
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -Whether it’s a call about an out of hand campfire for Victoria Lake Road or a random wildfire in Custer, people need to be careful this season as the Black Hills are drying out.

If you are desperately looking for a drink this summer, you are not alone.

With the series of hot temperatures, the Black Hills is more susceptible to fire outbreaks.

Pennington County’s Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey said they are noticing an uptick in calls of small fires.

He said some people may be new to the area and not aware of the safety protocols, like how to properly put out a campfire.

”Make sure the ashes are cold to touch.” said Meteorologist David Stradling. “So pour some water over it to make sure they are cool. Don’t let them kind of just sizzle until it cools down, stays hot throughout the night because when you get sunshine on it the next day...” it might ignite a flame.

Plus, the next time you go out for a joy ride do not park in the tall grass.

“Because the undercarage of those vehicles are very hot. They could get the grass touching it to get kind of warm and start to ignite and something can spread from that,” Stradling said.

But visitors are not the only ones who need to keep an eye out.

Farmers and ranchers need to be careful with how they use their equipment this season.

“If at all possible in western South Dakota, please avoid a rocky area, if you are doing any type of machine work. Any type of cutting or metal against rocks. Make sure you take time to grease those bearings,” Harvey said.

So next time you are relaxing, spot the potential fire sources.

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