Committee approves wildfire mitigation strategy

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Plans are in the works to keep South Dakota’s future fires from resembling California’s recent blazes.

Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee approved a resolution to support and rewrite the Black Hills Resilient Forest Strategy on Wednesday.

The strategy is a comprehensive guide on managing forests in the Black Hills. The guide adapts to wildland threats whenever they are relevant and abundant, such as diseases, pests and wildfires.

The plan’s new purpose is to reduce vegetative fuels to lower the chance and intensity of possible blazes. The wildfire prevention plan will also keep communities in forested land safe from potential blazes.

With the recent devastation wreaked by the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire in California, firefighters are eager to adopt preventative methods.

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Lt. Tim Weaver with the Rapid City Fire Department said that removing ground vegetation from fire-prone areas lowers the chance of a deadly fire.

“Reduce the amount of fuel that’s available to the fire,” Weaver said.” If you eliminate the amount of fuel or reduce the amount of fuel that’s available to the fire to burn, then the fire burns less intensely and makes everything a lot better.”

Wildland managers also plan to look at ways to introduce fuel mitigation methods to households in the Black Hills.

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