Fire officials ask the public to continue preventing wildfires during fall and winter months

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The weather usually start to cool off once fall starts, but in Western KELOLAND, temperatures are still in the 90s.

Local fire departments, including Box Elder have had a slower than normal fire season. But with a drought still in in place, Fire Chief Adam Kuenkel says that could easily change.

“Moving into winter, our fire season never truly stops, we are going to have the same conditions unless we get some ground cover with snow,” Kuenkel said.

Director of South Dakota Wildland Fire, Jay Esperance, says despite dry conditions in the Black Hills, people are doing a great job preventing wildfires.

“But not only that, when there is the slightest bit of smoke, they’ve been calling it in and we’ve been able to react and catch the fires small so that’s been real important,” Esperance said.

Due to the combination of high winds, high temperatures and fiery fuels, the fire danger levels out here in the Black Hills are very high.

“Until that moderates, we are going to continue to be in real difficult conditions for having wildland fires,” Esperance said.

Fire Chief Kuenkel says people should continue to be aware of our surroundings, and make smart decisions when it comes to open flames.

“Anything people do to prevent that, we can focus on our training and a lot of us respond to medical calls and we can focus on that and get all the documentation taken care of and all that when we are not running out the door and spending a lot more time chasing fires that were preventable,” Kuenkel said.

The Director of South Dakota Wildland Fire says the majority of recent fires out in the Black Hills have been caused by humans.

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