Parts of the Black Hills see high fire danger mid-January

Local News

BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KELO) — Even though it’s the middle of January, the fire danger in Pennington County is high today.

Due to the lack of snow, high winds and warmer than usual temperatures out here in the Black Hills, the area is seeing a higher fire danger.

“Right now anything could ignite a fire out here, the grasses are extremely high, that’s our flashy fuel. It doesn’t take much to start that up. We got warmer temps and of course these 80, 90 mph winds will just carry it and make it run,” Chief Schmidt said.

Chief Gail Schmidt with the Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department says even though it’s the middle of January, people should not forget a wildland fire is ignitable anytime of the year.

“When you’re done burning your fireplace and you’re getting ready to dump those ashes, make sure that they are absolutely out cold. If you are burning your slash piles make sure those are out cold and you are monitoring those,” Chief Schmidt said.

Caleb Dustman is the Captain of the New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department. He is also a local rancher.

“I ranch for a living and this grass is our livelihood that’s how we feed our cattle,” Dustman said.

Dustman says it’s important to continue to take fire precautions throughout the year.

“When we are working on a daily basis, we are always cautious, try to limit where we drive. We don’t drive in tall grass. We heat our houses in the winter with wood,” Dustman said.

Dustman says with such high winds in recent weeks, an end to fire season is not in sight for the Black Hills.

You can stay updated on changing fire danger levels here.

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