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Environment

Annual pile burning begins in Black Hills National Forest

Burn pile.jpg
Black Hills National Forest
Every fall, Black Hills National Forest managers look at weather and fuel conditions for prescribed burning.

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

The U.S. Forest Service is beginning the annual task of pile burning in the Black Hills National Forest.

These piles are made up of unused top-wood from commercial timber sales and from non-commercial forest thinning.

Chris Stover, fuel specialist with the Back Hills National Forest, says the Forest Service makes efforts to burn at optimum times and maintain the highest possible air quality for nearby residents. The winter season presents unique challenges.

“Part of the issue we have when it does get really cold and we have snow on the ground — the air we have over us is a high-pressure system, and many times we don’t have a lot of wind with that to help with dispersal," Stover says. "As hard as we plan to not have negative impacts, it's certainly a possibility. We have had instances in the past where the wind has set up a little bit incorrectly for us and we end up putting some smoke into town. Believe me when I say we work very hard to limit that.”

Note: private burn permits are issued by the state of South Dakota.

A slash pile primer