Drought conditions in South Dakota increase chances of wildfire

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Drought in South Dakota is tracked by using the drought meter, which focuses on broad scale conditions.

South Dakota is experiencing D-0 and D-1 drought.

D-0 meaning it is abnormally dry and grain and pasture growth will be stunted in those areas.

And D-1 means it is moderately dry making pasture and water supplies decline, putting the ranching industry under stress.

Melissa Smith, N.W.S. Hydrologist, said “Were coming off our two wettest years that we’ve seen we had back to back wet years in 2018 and 2019 so now we are starting to dry out and so we are watching those drought conditions very closely.”

The warm weather can factor into the dry conditions, and when a drought occurs the chance of a wildfire increases.

“Our normal temperatures in this area this time of year are typically in the upper 70s with our lows in the mid 50s so anytime that we are seeing temperatures in the 80s and 90s you know that’s definitely gonna, it’s a lot hotter than normal and its gonna cause us to dry out across the area.” said Melissa.

With the 4th of July right around the corner, lighting of fireworks in Rapid City has been banned with the irregular dry temperatures playing a factor.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News