Ways you can prevent wildfires in South Dakota

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — As thousands of firefighters continue to battle the wildfires in California, you can make sure one doesn’t spark right here in South Dakota. According to the Pennington County fire service, the area is under extreme fire danger.

Lt. Tim Weaver with the Rapid City Fire Department is in charge of the Wildland Fire mitigation. He says all of the dry grass and other vegetation right now could lead to massive forest fires.

“And so to deal with that heavy fuel loading in the Black Hills or in Rapid City in particular, we have several programs that we run for property inside the city limits to assist with the cost of reducing that fuel load,” Lt. Weaver said.

Weaver says one of the most important things you can do to prevent a wildland fire is to make sure your property is fire safe.

“making sure that the vegetation around your house is fire resistive. The exterior building materials, cedar shake roofs, combustable roofs are a huge fire hazard,” Lt. Weaver said.

If everyone takes steps to fire proof their property, it could prevent fires from spreading.

“In the event that we have a fire start and it takes off and runs. If your property is not ready, today is not the day to be getting ready. So that means make sure that your grasses are mowed down close to the homes, you’ve thinned out your trees close to your structures,” Chief Schmidt.

Chief Gail Schmidt with the Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department says it’s also important to be aware of the current fire conditions.

“Today from noon to 8 p.m., the Nation Weather Service issued a ‘Red Flag Warning.’ That means that a large portion of the Western side of South Dakota has critical fire conditions.

“So we rely on the public to be mindful of the conditions as well and help us out and make sure that we are not starting fires, man-caused fires unnecessarily,” Chief Schmidt said.

The Rockerville Volunteer Fire Chief says that during a flag warning, crews are prepared to be called out to fires.

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