Fire activity prompts reminders of safety tips for residents as summer closes

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Over the three-day weekend, at least three fires prompted swift action by local fire officials. Two campfires –one near Pactola Reservoir and one in the Black Hills National Forest – and one structure fire in Western Rapid City were taken care of, but serve as a reminder to residents of what could happen should things have escalated. Both campfires were kept to a minimum – one-tenth of an acre in size.

With campfires, or any special ceremonies requiring a fire, all are illegal without the proper documentation. Permits can be purchased in-person through county offices only and must be renewed every year.

Grillin' For A Good Cause“Only have a fire in a designated campfire ring,” Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey said. “Whether it is permitted by South Dakota Wildland Fire or if you are on federal property, or if you are on state property in a park, or in a federal area with a designated campfire ring.”

To put campfires out, drown the fire completely in water, mix any ashes and embers left over in with the soil, and stir again with water.

In regards to the structure fire caused by the propane tank explosion, Harvey recommends testing propane tank hoses for any leaks. To do so, spread soapy water over the hose and if any bubbles begin to form on any parts, the tank should be looked at by a professional immediately.

For both gas and charcoal grills, he recommends placing them a safe distance away from any commonly-used areas.

“Any type of an overhang or a deck, you should have a minimum of five feet or greater distance from that,” Harvey said. “And then a minimum of a three-foot safety zone around the appliance. For any kids or other activities that are going on, keep them away from that heat source.”

If the flames on a gas grill go out at any point during usage, turn the grill off completely and wait fifteen minutes before attempting to turn it on again.

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