Low potential for major wildfires in western South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The potential for large wildfires in the Black Hills National Forest region of western South Dakota appears low this year.
Plenty of precipitation is expected in the next 6-8 weeks, according to State Fire Meteorologist Darren Clabo, an instructor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.
“That wetter-than-average condition that we’ll see in May and June should really diminish our overall fire potential through the rest of the summer,” he said during his annual wildfire season outlook.
There have been two big fires already this spring — the Cold Fire in the Pringle area and the Storm Hill Fire in the Hill City area. Together they burned about 2,100 acres, or more than 3 square miles. Warm, dry conditions contributed to those fires but recent rain and snow has reduced the risk of a repeat, according to Clabo.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows only a small pocket of abnormally dry conditions in the region, and no drought.
Clabo said there are small areas with the potential to burn, but that overall “I’m not expecting a bad fire season this year.”