As the temperatures go up in KELOLAND, so does the risk of wildfires

Local News

BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KELO) — The sunshine and warm weather are a welcome sight for many, but as the temps go up. The chance for wildfires grow as well.

Just last weekend the Yankton Fire Department had its first grass fire of the season. A controlled burn got out of control. With even warmer weather in the forecast, the fire danger is high in many areas.

The sun is shining on the Black Hills Wednesday. More grass is becoming visible as the snow begins to melt.

“We’ve had some really nice temperatures the last couple of weeks and March is actually setting up to be a fairly warm, warmer than average month especially these first two weeks of March so what does that mean to us?” Chief Schmidt said.

Fire Chief Gail Schmidt with the Rockerville Fire Department says that means this tall dried grass is ready to burn.

“If you’ve done any burns in the recent weeks, get out and make sure those are out cold. Again March and April that’s our traditional wildland fire is escape piles,” Schmidt said.

Wildland fires can happen year-round. Lawrence Karsky, a firefighter for North Haines Volunteer Fire Department urges you to always be prepared.

“I can look around the station here and obviously see that things are dried out, the snow is disappearing and mother nature doesn’t have any quarums about when we go to work,” Karsky said.

It doesn’t take much to start a wildfire here in South Dakota. So it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

“Even the simple cigarette or emptying your ashes outside after burning your fireplace, your barbecue, anything that hits the dry fuel has the opportunity to do something you don’t want it to do,” Karsky said.

Although we can still have some snow on the ground here in the Pennington County area, the fire risk is very high.

The Pennington County Fire Services says that when the Fire Danger rating is “very high,” open burning is prohibited in the county.

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