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High Fire Danger in South Dakota Thursday and Friday

South Dakota Department of Agriculture

News Release




For Immediate Release: February 18, 2016

Media Contact: Jeni Lawver, 605.381.7232



State Urges Residents to be Cautious with Fire


RAPID CITY, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Wildland Fire Division says very high fire danger conditions exist in certain areas of the state today and tomorrow.


The primary area to watch today is from Todd/Mellette counties west through the eastern edge of the Black Hills. Warm, dry and windy weather combined with exposed dry grass fuels could create fast moving grass fires in those areas.


On Friday, the wildland fire danger focus area will be primarily across northwestern South Dakota where exposed fuels will see very strong northwest winds that could carry fire through grass fuels at a high rate of spread.


“Thursday will bring the warmest conditions we have seen yet this year across much of south-central and western S.D. Strong southwesterly winds and low humidity will lead to enhanced fire danger for those areas,” said Darren Clabo, state fire meteorologist. 


Residents and visitors to the state are asked to take care with open fire and equipment use in grassy areas during this time. Wildland Fire officials are also urging landowners to curtail any open burning activity and residents who have burned brush piles within the last month to be vigilant about monitoring them to ensure that they have been completely extinguished. 


This type of weather can cause burn piles to re-ignite if the pile has not been completely extinguished and is cold to the touch. Burn permit holders are reminded to use the back of their hands to feel the ashes; if you can touch the ashes without feeling any type of heat from the pile you can consider the pile cold and out.  If a pile should escape and start a wildland fire landowners or burn permit holders can be held financially responsible for all suppression costs.


South Dakota Wildland Fire can be found on Twitter @SDWildlandFire and on Facebook by searching SD Wildland Fire.


Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter.