MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — The recent rainfall in KELOLAND isn’t washing away the concerns over fire danger.
The Minnehaha County Commission gave the okay for a burn ban in the county at Tuesday’s meeting.
That means people are not allowed to do open burns such as ditches and brush piles.
The burn ban doesn’t affect fire pits or enclosed barrels that are covered.
The ban doesn’t include incorporated cities within the county.
Brandon Fire Chief Robert Dykstra told the Minnehaha County Commission his crew responded to three fires on the Fourth of July.
“I don’t have the hard numbers from other departments. Just going off what I heard on the radio I’m up to 27 calls just over the 3rd, 4th, and 5th,” Brandon Fire Chief Robert Dykstra said.
The burn ban that is now in place doesn’t put a stop to fireworks, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a concern in these hot, dry conditions.
“We encourage people not to shoot fireworks because over the weekend, the volunteer fire departments, instead of spending the Fourth of July with their families they were out putting out fires due to fireworks,” Minnehaha County Emergency Manager Jason Gearman said.
According to the latest drought monitor, Minnehaha County is in severe drought.
“Even the little bit of rain that we’ve got in the forecast, I don’t see that it really appreciably is going to affect the dryness of the area, unfortunately for the farmers,” Minnehaha County Commissioner Jean Bender said.
The four commissioners present all voted in favor of the ordinance.
Vice-chair Cindy Heiberger was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
The burn ban will continue until it’s lifted by the commission chair in consultation with the emergency manager and fire chiefs.
There are several counties that have issued burn bans over the last few weeks due to the drought.