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Drought Conditions Not Expected To Improve

February 27, 2008, 8:41 PM by Matthew Holsen

Drought Conditions Not Expected To Improve
Drought conditions in western South Dakota are not expected to get any better this spring and summer. 

Members of the Governor's Drought Task Force have been told moisture in the spring will be less than normal, so they are preparing for the ongoing dry conditions.

Ground fuels near Dave Fisher's business in the Black Hills have been cleaned up this winter. 

"In this area the forest service has been really aggressive in thinning a lot of timber," says Fisher.

That could keep fire from spreading this spring and summer. It's expected to be a dry spring, so drought will likely continue to be a problem. But a lack of rain could keep ground fuel from growing out of control. 

"That should be reduced if we do in fact experience a dryer than normal spring," adds State Fire Meteorologist Randall Benson.

He says that doesn't mean wildland fire suppression officials won't be ready if needed. 

"A lot of those resources right now are air resources that they are trying to increase in anticipation of an active fire season so that's what's going on right now," says Benson.

Fisher, who runs a marina on the Pactola Reservoir, says he is trying to stay positive, even though the reservoir has been losing water for the past several years. 

"Well I am keeping my fingers crossed that we are going to get those spring rains," replies Fisher.

It's a sentiment Benson echoes. 

"Pray for snow, snow and rain," says Benson.

Because that's about the only thing people can do as they wait for conditions to improve.

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