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Burn ban in effect for part of Pennington County

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Fire danger has been on many of our minds this week, and with warmer temperatures and little precipitation in the forecast, the Pennington County Fire Service put a burn ban into effect. The ban includes areas north of I-90 and east of Highway 79.

The National Weather Service is listing much of Western South Dakota as being under extreme fire danger. Under South Dakota law, counties can institute burn bans to mitigate that danger, and Pennington County has done just that in the wake of fires across the state.

Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey said that the lack of moisture and low humidity has made the brush more susceptible to catching ablaze.

“Anybody who’s lived in western South Dakota for any length of time will understand the fact that we’re in one of our drought cycles, or dry periods here,” Harvey said. “The brush has all cured out across western South Dakota, and we’re in a dry period. So, everyone needs to be extremely careful with any source of ignition.”

Open burning, such as burn piles, as well as burn barrels, are prohibited under the ban.

Harvey said that a hefty fine and some jail time can result from disobeying the ordinance.

“Penalties can be, up to $500, or 30 days in jail,” Harvey said. “That’s for the areas that are east of 79 and north of I-90.”

Harvey also stresses that it’s important for people to be careful during the holiday weekend.

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