Wildfire Awareness Month Begins Amidst Drought

May 5, 2015

May is Wildfire Awareness Month and with much of the state in a drought officials are urging homeowners to prepare for fire.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray spoke with three different experts in three different locations. 

First, the history of fire in the Black Hills with a look at stands of pitch stumps that historically burned.

Then to a stand of pines on private land near a housing development that was recently thinned thanks to a state program attempting to reduce the wildfire danger.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Firefighters in Sioux Falls are learning how to safely cope with crashes between cars and big vehicles. Rescue crews spend half a day in the classroom learning about the scenarios. Then they apply their education by moving real semi trucks and trailers in mock situations.  

A tow truck drones and metal crunches as crews in fire gear work on a semi truck. They use specialized equipment to stabilize the rig which is smashed on top of a mangled car.

Cold Brook Burn Jumps Lines To Become Wildfire

Apr 14, 2015
Great Plains Fire Information @GPFireInfo

The Cold Brook Fire at Wind Cave National Park has now burned about 6,500 acres.   

That number includes the 1,000 acre controlled burn ignited on Monday morning in the park.    

At about one o’clock Monday afternoon a gust of wind stirred up a dust devil that carried embers over the fire lines and into dry grasses.  Crews then lost control of the burn.

Today the Black Hills is under a Red Flag Warning, this means warmer temperatures and high winds that can fan the flames and make firefighting difficult.

Sheep Draw Fire Threatens Gas Wells

Mar 31, 2015
Great Plains Fire Information @GPFireInfo

A wildfire in the far Northwest part of the state has now charred more than six-thousand acres.   The Sheep Draw Fire is threatening some structures and natural gas wells in the area.

It could hit 80 degrees in parts of the state on Tuesday.    Officials continue to warn about the high fire danger in parts of the state with the unseasonably hot and dry weather.    


Rapid City Fatal Fire

Jun 2, 2014

An unidentified man was killed in a garage fire late Sunday night in Rapid City. Tarah Heupel of the Rapid City Police Department says officials responded to a call at about 11:15 p.m.

“A Pennington County Sheriff’s Deputy noticed smoke coming from a shed on the property 1803 Sioux Ave. The Fire Department was called and they were able to distinguish the fire in that shed, and afterwards a deceased male subject was found inside the shed,” says Heupel.

Ziggy's Building Center Burns

May 8, 2014
Rapid City Fire Department

A structure fire destroyed part of a building supply center in Rapid City.

The fire was reported just before Midnight at Ziggy's Building center near the Central States Fairgrounds.  

The Rapid City Fire Department responded with multiple units.  Crews attempted a combination of exterior and interior attack, but the roof of the structure failed. Crews continued pouring water on the fire from the outside.

EROS Landsat Images Help Fire Recovery

Sep 4, 2013

The USGS EROS Center is using satellite images to better understand the environmental effects of fires. The Center released two images from its Landsat 8 satellite showing conditions prior to the start of the Rim Fire at Yosemite National Park in the middle of August, and the progress of the fire at the end of the month. Jeff Eidenshink is the EROS fire science team coordinator. He says the two photos released are more for public awareness. Where the Landsat images really come into play are once the fire is over.

The Grizzly Fire in Black Hills

Jul 25, 2013

Approximately 35 firefighters are working toward full containment of a one and a half acre wildfire in the Black Hills.

The Grizzly fire is located in a fairly remote area- approximately one and a half miles east of Harney Peak. It was reported late Wednesday morning by a private helicopter business.

Scott Haas is the Acting District Ranger of the Hell Canyon Ranger District. He says the public is not in danger.

"BURN," A Documentary About Detroit Firefighters

May 30, 2013

"BURN" is a feature documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of Detroit firefighters, who are charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead. Since 1950, racial tensions and vanishing industry have cut Detroit's population in half from 1.8 million, making it a housing market horror story and leaving behind 80,000 abandoned homes. And in Detroit, social problems manifest themselves in one way - FIRE. The result is a dying city with one of the highest arson rates in the world.

Fire Forecasting

Apr 30, 2013

Darren Clabo, state fire meteorologist, discusses the current fire weather conditions and the potential for the coming months. April, May, June and July are typically the region's wettest months, when the area receives 50 percent of its annual average of 21 inches precipitation. Although an improvement in drought conditions is predicted, Clabo is less than optimistic about the possibility of any significant drought relief.

Homeowners Prepare For Fire Season

Mar 7, 2013

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of Rapid City’s Mallow fire.   The blaze started near a residential street and quickly consumed almost 150-acres of grass and trees on an area known as M Hill.   
The fire kicked-off what became a very intense fire season.  In 2012 more than 260-thousand acres burned in South Dakota according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Deadly Fire Reminds Residents to Take Precautions

Nov 28, 2012

**UPDATE: The Rapid City Fire Department released details of its early investigation Wednesday afternoon. The four victims are siblings Thomas Rosado, 9, Dustin Rosado, 5, Marquez Hawkwing, 3, and grandmother Marcia Rock, 51. The investigation is still ongoing, but the fire department has ruled out natural gas or electrical problems as the cause of the fire.

Dakota Political Junkies

Nov 28, 2012

Kevin Woster of the Rapid City Journal and David Montgomery of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader look ahead to next week's budget address from Governor Dennis Daugaard.  They also discuss possible effects of the looming "fiscal cliff" on South Dakota.  Woster also gives an update on Monday's house fire that took the lives of four people in Rapid City.

All but a few West River counties are under a Red Flag Warning for Extreme Fire Danger today/Wednesday.  Mike Connelly with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen says conditions have changed somewhat, but the weather remains dry.