RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — This year, the number of wildfires is down in South Dakota. But forest officials say you still need to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared in case a fire does spark.
Wildland fires go in cycles. This year, the threat has been low because Western KELOLAND is in a wet cycle versus a dry one.
“Our normal fire season begins around mid July in to early August and then it can continue through October and then this year with all the moisture we’ve had, we’ve basically had a really easy fire season per se,” Ray Hubb, Fire Management Officer, said
“We are just waiting for the cycle to go from a wet cycle back to a dry cycle,” Harvey said.
Even with the wet weather, there is still a risk. For instance, tall grass has the potential to create large fires that last for a long time.
“We’re monitoring the sweet clover outbreak that has occurred. That does create a five to six foot canopy over the other grasses that are there along the field bed, along the ground, so we are just concerned about that, watching it as that cures out,” Harvey said.
While the risk may be low, fire officials say you should still be prepared.
“The City of Rapid City, the state of wildland fire division, the forest service, the park service, everybody is doing what they can do reduce the fuels around homes and subdivisions and things like that but there is still a lot of work to be done and there’s still some areas that are quite susceptible of fires so the main thing is air on the side of caution and just be aware of what you are doing while you are outside,” Bubb said.
The Fire Management Officer says there have been some years with temperatures in the 80s and 90s in October. If that happens this year, it could create a longer fire season.