Fire conditions similar to last March when Schroeder Fire swept through the Hills

Dry ground in Rapid City.
Dry ground in Rapid City.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 3:35 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Open burning was prohibited Wednesday due to grassland fire danger being very high.

Darren Clabo, State Fire Meteorologist, says that tends to be riskiest with high winds, temperatures and dryness.

Clabo says March can be a dangerous month because things are still dead and dry around the area, which will burn readily.

Last year around this time was the Schroeder fire, which burned roughly two-thousand acres, and Clabo says conditions right now are similar.

If fire danger is to go down, he’d like to see the Hills climb toward an average moisture level, which are currently down this year to date.

He says a couple of big moisture events during the spring months would do the trick. Usually, coming by way of snow.

”I wouldn’t say that having snow cover on the ground this time of year is common. It’s probably more uncommon than it is common. But,” explains Clablo, “this is the time of year when we get our big blizzards too. March and April is kind of the snow season out here in Western South Dakota.”

Clabo says if things were to go poorly, we’d see extended periods of time without moisture that would dry things up, and high winds that could potentially knock things over like power lines and branches. Both things that contributed to the Schroeder Fire last year.

Breaking open burning laws in Pennington County can result in a 500-dollar fine or 30-days in jail.

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