SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With dry conditions across KELOLAND, fire dangers pose a threat throughout the region.
One fire happened a mile west of Vermillion on Highway 50 causing around eight acres of corn to be burned. Sheldon Johnson is the farmer whose field went up in flames. According to him, it’s still undetermined how the fire started.
“It can happen to anyone,” Johnson said about his field being burned.
Johnson doesn’t know what he can even do with the crop. He said if nothing else, it could be feed, but it could be condemned as well. He’s never had this happen to his fields, but he’s thankful the fire department and his neighbors were there to put out the fire.
The Yankton Fire Department was one group that responded to the fire on Johnson’s land. The conditions in Yankton County are so dry, a burn ban is in place until midnight Tuesday. The burn ban doesn’t allow any outdoor fire, including things like campfires, charcoal grill fires and burning trash or debris. However, permanent grills and fire pits on private residences can still be used.
Larry Nickles is the Yankton Fire Department Deputy Chief. He says the burn ban may need to remain in place because of the conditions in the upcoming week.
“(The burn ban will likely last) According to the weather service, the next two/three days at least into the weekend. There’s a chance of moisture then. That moisture isn’t going to do us a whole lot of good except slow us down a little bit for a few days,” Nickles said.
He said the only thing that would help the dry conditions would be snow.
The current conditions are capable of producing fires from many different things. Nickles said the fire department has put out fires due to different causes.
“We’ve had some goofy things this time of year already in our county. Fireworks started one fire. We’ve had a few harvest fires. One was a combine hit a rock and set off a bean field and got into a tree grove and did some damage to the bean field and the combine,” Nickles said.
Nickles added that hunting season can also be a fire danger.
“The residential season starts this Saturday, and the following week is going to be our full state season. We’re really asking that the hunters watch where they drive into the fields before they go walk them and things like that because the catalytic converters under the pickups and stuff are susceptible to starting a grass fire,” Nickles said.
If you are going hunting, Nickles said to be prepared.
“We suggest that maybe they carry, if not a little water, at least some shovels in their vehicles. If something like that happens, they can get a start on controlling the fire until the fire department can get there,” Nickles said.
He added to be mindful where you park. Nickles also asked that you park your vehicles away from road ditches and fields with tall grass.