STURGIS, SD -
It's less than a week until the official start of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and already the area is teeming with tourists.
"Depending on the size of the crowd we could double the population for the state of South Dakota," South Dakota Wildland Fire's Ray Bubb said.
But the influx of visitors is causing some concern among fire officials.
"Maybe they're not aware of the situation we have with the dry conditions, so we have stepped up the fire prevention measures that we need to have in place to deal with the larger crowds," Bubb said.
Because of the volume of traffic that the rally brings through the Hills, coupled with the extreme fire danger that persists in the area, a fire prevention and education team has been brought in to help educate rally-goers about what they can do to stay safe.
"We're going to have six prevention teams that are going to be going out," fire prevention team member Miles Friend said.
Those two person groups will visit area campgrounds, distributing information on how to prevent wildfires. And their message is simple.
"Don't burn the rally. And that's what we're trying to promote, making sure folks don't burn the rally. Besides that it's also, don't burn the forest," Friend said.
Officials hope it's a message that keeps the flames painted on motorcycles from spreading to the Hills.
The fire prevention and education team is made up of people from different federal and state agencies. The team will be working in the Hills through the end of the rally.
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