Saturday, June 18, 2016

Despite a shortage of firefighters South Dakota sending some to New Mexico

Mike Maltaverne is one of the most honorable, competent men to ever run a fire department or to date a daughter.
Rapid City Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne says he doesn’t have enough firefighters to answer the growing number of fire and ambulance calls. He has been warning policy makers in memos for three years. Now the Rapid City Fire Department personnel shortage is “significant.” [Rapid City Journal]
Personnel from the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire and volunteer fire departments from nearby Black Hawk, Interior and Piedmont are headed to New Mexico to help local communities affected by the Dog Head and North fires. Evacuations are underway as the wildfires grow. At least twenty five homes have been destroyed by the Dog Head blaze and the New Mexico National Guard is patrolling to prevent looting.

So far on the Cibola National Forest, nearly 18,000 acres of ponderosa pine and drought-stressed grasses have been consumed by the Dog Head Fire. The North Fire has cleared nearly 40,000 acres of ponderosa pine, mixed-conifer pinon-juniper, grass and litter understory. Fire danger on the Santa Fe National Forest is also very high.

New Mexico has been the first state of the season to see extreme wildfire behavior before.

But look on the bright side, people: your lives could be much worse; you could be living in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Just across the border from South Dakota, Campbell, parts of Weston and Crook Counties, Wyoming are under a red flag warning at press time.

Republican former US congress member from New Mexico, Heather Wilson, is president of South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. The Libertarian Party of South Dakota has been recognized by the Secretary of State's office where former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and his running mate will appear on November's ballot likely helping turn that red state blue this cycle.

Rapid City-based Black Hills Energy contributes to the methane bubble in the Four Corners region.

After a century of fire suppression, a decades-long moratorium on prescribed burns, a lack of environmental litigators and GOP retrenchment the Black Hills National Forest is also expecting an active wildfire season.

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