The Black Hills National Forest and other South Dakota recreation areas are prone to wildfires. If you live in proximity to or often camp or hike in these areas, you could become seriously injured if a fast-spreading fire arises without warning.
Review these strategies to stay safe in the event of an impending wildfire.
If you live near a spreading wildfire
You can take steps to prevent a wildfire from spreading to your property. The South Dakota Wildland Fire Division recommends:
- Removing vehicles from dry grass and placing them on dirt or gravel, far away from anything flammable
- Smoking tobacco products indoors only and refraining from disposing of cigars or cigarette butts outside in dry areas
- Clearing grass and debris from the bearings and exhaust systems of farm and construction equipment
- Keeping a working fire extinguisher, shovel and water on hand on your property at all times
- Maintaining electric fences and complying with power requirements
If you visit the forest
Build campfires and cooking fires only in designated areas. Check the fire restrictions for the park you plan to visit before you go and abide by them closely. At the end of the night, douse all campfires with water and remaining at the site until they go out completely
Do not try to put out a fire you come across in a natural area. Instead, call 911 to report the incident and leave the area immediately.
Contact with a wildfire can result in serious burn and smoke inhalation injuries. Get medical attention right away if you get caught in or near a South Dakota wildfire.