Friday, January 12, 2018

Volunteer fire departments exhausting resources

Volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and if the Federal Emergency Management Agency survives a Trump presidency it should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural fire departments.

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 and surrounding grasslands remain at risk to more blazes like the Legion Lake Fire.
In South Dakota, 92 percent of fire protection is accomplished by volunteers. Many of the volunteer departments surrounding Rapid City broke records in call volume, including Rapid Valley, Rockerville, Box Elder, Hill City, and Black Hawk. Box Elder saw an increase of 3 percent over 2016, while Rockerville saw an increase of 40 percent.
Read more here.

Wildland fire expert Joe Lowe has called South Dakota's current GOP governor, Dennis Daugaard, incompetent and uninterested in governing. Lowe obviously believes that South Dakota's governor is not taking the ecological collapse taking place on the Black Hills seriously enough.

Poor ranching practices continue to add fuels to an already dangerous West River drought bringing with it a moderate fire danger to all reporting stations in the Black Hills.

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