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Fire danger high for summer according to Darren Clabo, the State Fire Meteorologist of South Dakota

High fire danger this summer season.
High fire danger this summer season.(KOTA)
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - If you haven’t had the chance to get outside, here’s the news, it’s warm. It great to be able to roll up the sleeves once again, but it’s not difficult to remember standing outside in Rapid City only a short time ago when smoke filled the air.

The latest drought monitor map for the area is out, and South Dakota’s State Fire Meteorologist, Darren Clabo, made his prediction for fire danger.

Unfortunately, it’s seeming more than likely that fire will be in the forecast this summer season.

Clabo says it’s expected to be both dry and hot during the coming months.

Rapid City has received two or three inches less than the average precipitation for the start of the year.

Due to the lack of moisture, Clabo says there’s not a lot of water that has seeped into to the ground.

All of these things make for high fire danger, and according to Clabo, the signs are strongly suggesting it.

“I do have to stress that these signals are exceptionally strong for these conditions. It wouldn’t surprise me if 2021 is another exceptional fire year by really all metrics,” says Clabo.

What is the biggest perpetrator?

“Drought, drought is a big factor that drives wildfire activity,” Clabo says.

Being in a drought as it is, and the expectation for it to only get worse, it’s important to do what we can to exercise caution.

Eric Gardner, Meteorologist, has some things to be careful about.

“Simple things, throwing a cigarettes’ butt out the window while you’re driving down the road. Sounds kind of stupid. Also, it’s littering, but that causes more fires across the country than you could imagine. If you have burn bans, don’t start a campfire. If you are using a campfire, make sure you put it out correctly. Just be smart, don’t be careless,” Gardner warns. “If you have a flat tire and are dragging a trailer, causing sparks down the road, rural areas and on interstates, those have caused fires. It’s these things you don’t really think about that have caused some of the biggest wildfires in the nation and it can happen here.”

Most fires happen in the months of July and August, but the most acreage is burned in September and October when forests are more susceptible to burn. Many national wildfire resources are on the ready for what is predicted to be a dangerous year for the Midwest.

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