Fire advisory issued across South Dakota

Fire advisory issued across South Dakota State Fire Marshal Dan Carlson issued a fire advisory Nov. 1 for the entire state of South Dakota.

Due to the unseasonable lack of moisture throughout the state, Carlson has issued a plea to be especially cautious this fall season. According to Carlson, the conditions for a wild fire are considered to be in the very high to extreme category in the entire state.

Carlson and Ray Sowers, state forester, are asking for public cooperation in helping to prevent such an occurrence. Those who participate in burning trash, debris, or ground vegetation in ditches and fields are liable for their actions if the fire becomes uncontrolled. In fact, state law can hold a person civilly responsible for the damages caused by the fire and the costs related to injury of fire fighters and damage to their equipment. The responsible person may also be charged criminally and face a jail sentence of one year and a $1,000 fine.

Both Carlson and Sowers are asking for the cooperation of landowners, hunters and the general public. In the past week numerous fires occurred throughout the state. Of the 360 fire departments, 354 are staffed entirely with volunteer firefighters.

"I am not aware of any firefighter injuries as yet, but at this rate it is only a matter of time," Carlson said.

There has been excellent cooperation among these fire departments to prevent or reduce the fire damages. Two fires northwest of Yankton Nov. 1 took seven area fire departments, including Vermillion's, to bring the blaze under control and the resources are getting a work out. Fire departments from Nebraska and Iowa have assisted with fires along the borders.

Until the state gets some substantial moisture, Carlson is asking people to stop all burning until conditions improve.

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