BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KELO) — After a busy fire season, recent rain and snow are helping firefighters in the Black Hills.
Some parts of the Black Hills have already received more than two feet of snow. State Fire Meteorologist Daren Clabo says it’s having a positive effect.
“That snow is just kind of settling in, it’s moistening up all the fuels and even the prairie areas that just got the rain, it really mitigated the overall fire danger,” Clabo said.
New Underwood Fire Chief Caleb Dustman is also a rancher. He says the snow came at a great time.
“If that ground freezes up with a good layer of moisture in it, it will help when that thaws in the spring, it’ll help the grass and crops get a good jump start,” Dustman said.
While the recent snow and rain have helped with moisture out here in the Black Hills, the fire danger level remains very high today.
“The precipitation, one to three inches across the widespread area over western South Dakota was definitely beneficial. It’s allowed that moisture to soak into the ground, soak into the fuels, moisten everything up but looking out over the next two to four weeks, we are going to dry back out so our fire potential will definitely increase going through the rest of October and early November, so we have temporary relief right now but there is some potential for some drying in the future,” Clabo said.
So local fire departments including, New Underwood, are staying prepared.
“We’re not out of the woods yet. The moisture has been a great help. But we’ve had a couple warm days and it’s windy out today. The danger is still there,” Dustman said.
Fire officials say this time of year, departments tend to see more structure fires. So it’s important to make sure your home is equipped for any kind of fire danger.