BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Fourth of July weekend is a popular time for outdoor activities like camping and fireworks. But in a year with extremely dry conditions, some traditions might be more dangerous than others.
Not only are campfires like these against the law, but they can be extremely dangerous in the right setting.
“In past history we’ve had a few pretty good fires that have come from people not making sure that their campfire is completely out or taken care of or not in a very good built ring and so that’s why we got it outlawed,” Reoric said.
Tom Roeric is an Assistant Fire Management Officer with the National Forest Service. He says fines for having an illegal campfire are similar to a speeding ticket.
“And if it gets out and it does cause a fire, us or the state have the ability to come after that individual for the suppression costs of that fire as well as any resource damage done to timber or other natural resources, or any other property where damage may have occurred,” Roeric said.
Scott Jacobson with the National Forest Service says no fireworks are allowed in the Black Hills regardless of holidays.
“Any kind of spark or ignition on a dry day like we are having and the dry days we are going to have coming in the future are really good candidates for starting a wildfire,” Jacobson said.
While the fire danger is currently moderate in Rapid City, Black Hills National Forest Service Officials say within the next few days, that could change.
“We just really want to reduce the ability for folks to generate a spark which could lead into a serious wildfire,” Jacobson said.
While campfires are allowed on some designated camping sites, it’s important to completely put the fire out and make sure it is cold to touch to prevent any wildfires.