RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — With low fire danger, now is the perfect time for firefighters in Rapid City to also reduce the chances for wildfires to spread.
You may have seen smoke in the air Tuesday in Rapid City. But in this case, the fires are a good thing.
“By doing these burns here we are mitigating the fire risk of a wildfire. We are actually able to do these burns under our own conditions. We pick the day that we do it, that way we are not chasing a wildfire down in the middle of summer,” Eric O’Connor, Wildfire Mitigation Lt., said.
Not only does a prescribed burn have ecological benefits, but it is giving firefighters, like Peter Smith a great training opportunity.
“For me, I’m a little bit newer in the department so I don’t have quite as much experience so these prescribed burns are a great way to get our training in. You can see the fire activity in a prescribed way so when you go out on a wildfire or an assignment, you can make decisions based off of that,” Peter Smith, Firefighter/EMT, said.
There were about nine personnel working on Tuesday’s prescribed burn which is about five to 10 acres.
Wildfire Mitigation Lt. Eric O’Connor says this prescribed burn in particular is important because it is inside Rapid City.
“Burning in the city is a touchy subject. We have a lot of structures and community around us as well. We just really want to take this opportunity to teach people the benefits of small scale fire in the city and the surrounding area. This is a good example of a good fire,” O’Connor said.
The Rapid City Fire Department urges people to be aware that the smoke is the prescribed burn which is being monitored by trained firefighters. The department says they plan to do more burns around town in the coming weeks.