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Forecasted rain probably won’t be enough to change drought conditions

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:03 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Summer is coming to a close in about a month, and the most dangerous time for fire season with it. For a large part of the summer, the Black Hills haven’t been listed as under a drought. Thursday, the data is listing this part of the state as abnormally dry.

Experts say that northeastern Wyoming has it considerably worse, being listed as extremely dry, the second highest ranking on the monitor. Parts of the western United States are listed as being under exceptional drought, which is the worst ranking. These rankings compared to southern South Dakota falling under the the lowest ranking, abnormally dry, leads experts to say it hasn’t been so bad here in the Hills.

However, South Dakota as a whole hasn’t been as lucky with many areas of the state facing moderate to extreme drought conditions.

As for fires, although the Hills area has been hazy, the smoke has been travelling to get here according to Meteorologist, Jacob Montesano.

”Most of the Black Hills have not produced all of the haze we’re seeing. Parts of the summer, the haze was coming from wildfires out in California and Oregon. Another part of the summer they were coming from Canada. Another part of the summer they were coming from southeastern Montana, near Billings, there was a big fire there. As far as the Black Hills go, they haven’t had that bad of a fire season. Most of the fires have been very small. At least compared to the ones out west,” says Montesano.

Experts say that even though it’s currently raining and they’re expecting more to come, it would take a huge rain event or far more light rains to effect the current state of drought. Although the risk of fire is low while it’s raining, it doesn’t take long after it stops for things to dry up again.

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