SDPB News: June 30

Jun 30, 2020

How is Gov. Noem reacting to the latest U.S. Supreme Court ruling? Plus, why is western South Dakota showing an increased risk of wildfires after two of the wettest years in state history? All this and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today. 

South Dakota Fire Meteorologist's Wildfire Concerns

Jun 29, 2020

In The Moment … June 29, 2020 Show 848 Hour 1

A relatively calm 2018 and 2019 has some South Dakotans less aware of the risk of wildfires in the Black Hills and the western part of the state. As we head into a hot July, what's the wildfire outlook? Today we welcome Darren Clabo, Ph.D., to the program. Darren is a research scientist at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the state's fire meteorologist.  

The Tiny House Tour

Dec 2, 2019
Stephanie Arne

In The Moment ... December 2, 2019 Show 710 Hour 1

Stephanie Arne is a speaker, explorer and wildlife presenter. Arne is the founder of the Creative Animal Foundation. She joins us today with a recap of the Tiny House Tour and its efforts to raise awareness about habitat preservation.  Recently the tiny house was surrounded by flames in the midst of a wildfire. Stephanie reminds us that fires can't burn memories and she joins us today by phone from California.

Wildfire Dangers

Jun 5, 2019
Chynna Lockett

In The Moment ... June 5, 2019 Show 589 Hour 1

It's that time of year when wildfires can become an issue in South Dakota. State Fire Meteorologist Darren Clabo explains how wildfires can vary across the state as well as the forecast trends for temperatures and precipitation over the rest of the summer.


In The Moment ... November 29, 2018 Show 469 Hour 2

The latest installment of the National Climate Assessment was released Friday. It offers dire warnings regarding the impact of a changing climate on everything from agriculture to a greatly expanded wildfire season.

Findings from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology-led Regional Climate Assessment Workshop are included in the national report.

William Capehart leads the Atmospheric Science Program at SDSM&T.

Victoria Wicks

South Dakota air quality has been affected this summer by wildfires in other states, particularly those to the west. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were sixteen active large fires burning in Montana as of Tuesday, Aug. 29. There are also eight in California, eleven in Oregon, another eleven in Washington, thirteen in Idaho, nine in Colorado, and two in Wyoming. At times, the South Dakota sun is dim even in a cloudless sky. All that smoke can cause health problems, especially for vulnerable people. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

More Wildfires In the Future

Apr 10, 2017
South Dakota State University

Wildfires are nothing new to people in parts of South Dakota. However experts say fires are becoming bigger and more intense.

Professor Mark Cochrane is a senior researcher at South Dakota State University. He and researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia and the University of Idaho have spent the last decade studying wildfires.

Water Scooper Aircraft Poised In the Black Hills

Jun 3, 2016
Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

UPDATE: Officials with the Forest Service say the scoopers were called out to fight large fires in Alaska.

The Black Hills is temporary home for two U.S. Forest Service water scooper airplanes. 

Each aircraft can skim a lake, scoop up about 1,600 gallons of water to carry and drop on wildfires.

The two Bombardier CL 415’s are the only forest service scoopers currently operational in the country. Officials say the planes are on hand due to potential wildfire conditions in the area.

SDSU professor Mark Cochrane, a wildfire expert and senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence joins Innovation to discuss living with fire. He’s working on a study of 630 large wildfires that occurred in the last decade in US National Forests to determine which forest treatments – thinning, controlled burns, etc—are most effective in particular US forests. Cochrane is part of a team of scientists from Idaho, California, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Canada and Australia who examined the challenges that must be overcome to create fire-resilient communities.

Black Hills Wildfire Outlook

May 2, 2016

South Dakota has seen two large wildfires this year and the traditional fire season hasn’t even started. But the state fire meteorologist says the intensity of the coming fire season depends on the amount of spring and summer rain. 

Darren Clabo is the state fire meteorologist.  He says warm and dry conditions this winter and early spring are related to the two large wildfires in the Black Hills. The good news, Clabo says, is that wetter weather is ahead.

google images

  So far this year there have been no major wildfires in South Dakota, but the state has seen a blanket of smoke drifting in from fires burning across the drought stricken west.  Hundreds of homes have been lost to wildfire this year across the country.  But officials say homeowners can take steps to protect their own property before a fire hits.  

Firefighter Students Train For Wildfires

Jun 1, 2015
Chynna Lockett

Firefighters are preparing for forest fire season in South Dakota. The Box Elder Job Corps is hosting an intensive firefighting course. Land management agencies from South Dakota and the surrounding states are invited to work with future firefighters. Students participate in various training activates to become qualified to combat wildland fires.

Click play bellow to hear more.

National Park Service

Fire is one of the management tools used at Wind Cave National Park in the southern Black Hills to help maintain the health and natural balance of the grassland and forest. The park uses prescribed fires to achieve a more "natural" state by reducing accumulated fuel levels, reducing ponderosa pine encroachment on the grasslands, and eliminating exotic plants and increasing the diversity and health of native plant species.

Wildfire Awareness Week

May 5, 2014

May 3-10 is Wildfire Awareness Week to raise public awareness of wildfires and promote actions that reduce the risk from wildfires to homes and communities. In the outlook through the end of June, the forecast is for average to below average large fire potential with fire potential the highest over south central and southeastern South Dakota. Darren Clabo, state fire meteorologist, discussed the current fire weather conditions and the potential for the coming months.