S.D. Drought Task Force asks citizens to help prevent fires

S.D. Drought Task Force asks citizens to help prevent fires According to state climatologist Dennis Todey, a member of Gov. Rounds' Drought Task Force, even after recent precipitation, the central and western portions of South Dakota continue to report abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions because of short-term and long-term dryness.

"We want all citizens to know drought conditions are ongoing in our state so they can be extra cautious during normal day-to-day activities to help prevent fires," said Kristi Turman, Emergency Management director. "Due to our record low snowfall this winter and to the low humidity and high winds during this time of the year, we know a fire can be sparked and spread very easily."

DPS is asking all citizens to remember the following to help prevent fires:

* Abide by counties' burn bans.

* Do not burn anything on windy days.

* Do not throw cigarettes on the ground or out of vehicle windows.

* Before starting controlled burns, check weather conditions and consult with local law enforcement, fire departments and first responders.

* Be especially watchful of any activity that could potentially cause a spark.

Specifically, citizens living in and around the Black Hills should do these additional things to help prevent fires:

* Thin tree and brush cover.

* Dispose of tree debris left from thinning.

* Prune branches 10 feet above the ground.

* Clean debris from roofs and gutters.

* Mow dry grass and weeds.

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