Foresters fight against extreme weather conditions to prevent fires

The scenic Black Hills coupled with the nice weather makes for a beautiful March.  It also makes for an unusual one.

“It’s definitely a dry March, I can’t imagine another March as warm and as nice as this one has been,” said Tom Farrell of Windcave National Park. “That’s why you worry what’s gonna happen in the future if it keeps up this dry.”

This past winter has been the ninth driest in winter for Windcave National Park. Not only can you see how dry it is at Windcave National Park, you can also hear the crunching of the grass.

“This is the time of year where it should be raining, it should be snowing,” said Eric Allen with the National Park Service.  “So there shouldn’t be a lot of issues occurring over the fire dangers in the area.”

But there are a lot of issues:  tall grass, heavy winds and lack of precipitation to name a few.

“We have high fire danger, we also have occasional red flag days,” Farrell said.

And then there’s the likelihood of someone sparking a fire by smoking cigarettes or welding.

“At this time of year without some type of human cause to start the fire, it’s just not particularly likely,’ Allen said.

While the grass may be a little greener on the other side, foresters say they are still keeping an eye on Mount Rushmore.

“The measurements we take would show they’re in the exact same situation were in … their area looks a little different , they don’t have the grass component,” said Allen.

The main component foresters hope will be on their sides soon is some steady rain.

For now, there are no fire restrictions in place at Mount Rushmore. Wind cave has issued a burn ban in developed areas such the campgrounds. Smoking is not permitted.

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