TURNER COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — From a parched riverbed to dust kicked up by work in the fields, it’s not hard to find evidence of how dry it is in Turner County in the southeastern part of the state. County emergency manager Brad Georgeson says farm work carries risk.
“Whether it be a piece of equipment that lights off for whatever reason, if it malfunctioned or they happen to hit a rock out in the field with tillage equipment or a combine, we could have something take off really, really quick,” Georgeson said.
The majority of South Dakota on Tuesday either had “very high” or “extreme” fire danger according to the National Weather Service’s grassland fire danger map. In conditions like these, winds and the smallest spark can quickly bring about a massive problem.
“It just takes one spark with the winds that we’re going to be having to create that fire,” Yankton County emergency manager Paul Scherschligt said.
Scherschligt says farmers are doing what they can to be prepared.
“They have taken water tanks out on trailers to be ready in case something happens,” Scherschligt said. “Number one they don’t want their crop to be burned up, but two they got expensive equipment, so if a combine would start on fire or something of that nature, they want to have water there.”
Georgeson wants to know how to reach farmers for help in containing a fire should it break out. A disc can quickly dig up land, denying a fire the fuel it needs.
“If we get a farmer that has a tractor and a disc ready to go, it would be nice if we could get their cell phone number to be able to get a hold of them,” Georgeson said. “And some farmers we already do, some fire departments already have this established. It’s been really good across this part of the state.”
Georgeson and Scherschligt say burn bans are active for their respective counties.