Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rapid City fire crews preparing for summer wildfire season

A small crew starting a controlled fire near South Rapid City
C.J. Keene
A small crew starting a controlled fire near South Rapid City

The weather is finally warming up. While that might mean the end of winter blues, it means the start of another challenge – wildfire season.

The side of this south Rapid City hill is what firefighters call the “wildland-urban interface” – where homes, businesses and fire-prone forest meet.

That makes this the perfect place for the local fire department to train for a severe fire situation.

Dustin Larsen is lieutenant company officer overseeing Thursday's training project – dubbed “enchantment.”

“It’s called the RT-130," Larsen said. "It’s an annual refresher for our red card, which is a national certification for wildland firefighting. We do it on an annual basis, so guys are prepared for the summer seasons when we do start getting wildland fires. Where we live in the Black Hills its really hard to say, it’s all going to depend on how much moisture we get this spring.”

Larsen said with fire season right around the corner, people living in the woods should stay tuned.

“Fire activity is really going to dictate how we progress as far as evacuating houses," Larsen said. "So, if you live in the area and you can follow any news updates, we’ll get law enforcement to start evacuating and we’re going to broadcast on social media.”

For now, crews are making sure they can reach fires in every corner of the Black Hills, including right in folks’ backyards.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture