South Dakota officials warn of ‘very high’ fire danger in Butte and Meade Counties

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Wildland Fire Division says there is very high fire potential in two counties in the western part of the state.

In a Tweet from the division, officials say there is “very high fire danger” in the prairie areas of Butte and Meade Counties.

The southern Black Hills and prairie areas of Lawrence, Pennington, Custer and Fall River Counties are in the “high fire danger” category.

Officials say there is moderate fire danger in the northern and central Black Hills.

Here are the fire danger explanations from the U.S. Forest Service:

Very high: Fires start easily from all causes and , immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in light fuels may quickly develop high intensity characteristics such as long-distance spotting and fire whirlwinds when they burn into heavier fuels.

High: All fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes. Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High-intensity burning may develop on slopes or in concentrations of fine fuels. Fires may become serious and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small. Extra precautions are required on outdoor burning. Fires in heavy and continuous fuels such as CRP fields or logging slash will be difficult to control under windy conditions.

Moderate: Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low. Fires in open cured grasslands will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Timber fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fires are not likely to become serious and control is relatively easy.

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