Janklow extends open burn ban to all West River counties

Janklow extends open burn ban to all West River counties Gov. Bill Janklow has directed the state fire marshal to prohibit open burning in all counties west of the Missouri River.

"It's so dry that any fire would be extremely dangerous, and we can't take any chances," Janklow said. "Any fire, no matter how much in control of it you think you are, is dangerous."

Friday night, Janklow directed state fire marshal Dan Carlson to prohibit open burning in Butte, Custer, Fall River, Lawrence, Meade and Pennington counties.

Janklow has directed Carlson to do the same for Bennett, Corson, Dewey, Gregory, Haakon, Harding, Jackson, Jones, Lyman, Mellette, Perkins, Shannon, Stanley, Todd, Tripp and Siebach counties.

The bans took effect at 12:01 a.m. July 1 and remain in effect until modified or rescinded by the state fire marshal.

"We're already spread too thin when it comes to fire fighting resources. The slightest mistake could mean we're put into the position of deciding what to let burn, and what to try and save," Janklow said.

State law provides criminal penalties, as well as civil penalties for all personal injury, property damage and fire extinguishment costs against anyone found responsible for starting a fire in violation of law.

Janklow has also directed the state fire marshal to contact East River counties beginning July 1 to evaluate conditions to determine if a open burn and fireworks bans are warranted, if not already in place in those counties.

Fireworks are strictly prohibited in the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District, as well as any national forest, national park, state forest or any land used by the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. Cities may prohibit or regulate fireworks within the municipal boundaries. Counties may regulate or prohibit fireworks outside of any city if the fire danger has reached the extreme category for two consecutive days.

The state Division of Wildland Fire Suppression reports that eight fires were known to have been started by fireworks in 2001. There have been 58 fires started by fireworks in the last 10 years.

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