HERMOSA, S.D. (KEVN) - Even though snow is in the forecast, now is the time to start thinking about the upcoming fire season.
Battle Creek Fire Department. (KEVN)
It's time to fire up the chainsaw and dig out the shovels.
"It's easier to do it when it's not 90 degrees outside. You can get outside on some of these nice winter days that we have had and get some yard work done," said Laura Adrian with the Battle Creek Fire Department.
By the time it warms up and dries out, it will be too late to get prepared for the so-called fire season.
"We don't really have a fire season in the Black Hills. The entire year is the fire season. If you prepare during the fall and the winter and the spring, times when traditionally we have less fire risk, then you'll be ready when the summer comes," said Adrian.
There are three layers of fire mitigation.
"When we are looking at fire preparedness in a home, really what we are looking at is no so much the defensibility of your home but the survivability of your home," said Adrian.
The first zone is up to 5 feet next to your home. You want nothing combustible in this area. Any bushes or plants that can catch fire need to be moved or cleaned up. The second zone is 5-30 feet and where you want to manage your trees. They should be 10 feet apart so fires can't jump from crown to crown. Thirty feet and out is the third zone. Natural maintenance is the best option, cleaning up anything that's dead or hanging around.
"Treat your siding. Treat your wooden decks with a fire retardant also look at having a non-flammable roof. Use plants that can actually act as a fire retardant of sorts. Those would be plants that are high in moisture," said Adrian.
Doing all of this yard work can be expensive, but luckily there's help available.
"One option available to homeowners in this area is the hazardous materials cost-sharing program through South Dakota State Wildland Fire in which crews will come out and help you with fuel mitigation around your home," said Adrian.
To learn more about this program, click here.