Fall Cycle

   The annual South Dakota fall cycle of fires may have already begun for some of you around the state. We all know it is coming every year. We just hope to get some assistance from God and Mother Nature to keep it in check for us.

   It is hard to convince people that a shot of rain dries in a matter of hours when the grass, ditches, and fields are no longer green and the sun comes out. 

   Let’s all remember, grass and sloughs will grow back. Protect the people and then the property.

   I serve on the wildland committee for the NVFC. We continue to make strides in bringing more awareness and training to farm and rangeland wildfire preparedness. Everyone thinks of wildfires as forest and trees. But we all fight wildfires.

   There is more discussion on preparedness and management than ever before. Although suppression and extinguishing fire is important, the realization that stopping a fire does not eliminate the potential. It somewhat prolongs it. 

   We need to prepare people for what we know is likely to happen eventually. 

   Whether you live in town or country, is your property trimmed and cleaned of burnable materials? Do you put patio furniture away? Wood piles away from garages and buildings? And bushes, shrubs, and dry leaves away from your house and buildings? 

   Embers and ashes from a field fire can drift a long distance unnoticed, including into a town.

   The NVFC has a Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP) and checklist you can use to evaluate your property for wildfire preparedness. We are updating it to include Farm and Ranch oriented, as well.  One example, how many of you park equipment and implements in a grassy tree grove? Do you put some space between your piles of hay bales? 

   If you have suggestions and ideas to add to the list, send them to me.

   And my annual reminder, structural gear is for structure fires. No need to overheat and unnecessarily over exert yourself. Get lightweight fire resistant clothes like cotton or blends. 

   September turned into a very emotional month for many of us, and me, personally, on several occasions as I attend several services for fellow firefighters.

   Our condolences go out to the Cavour Volunteer Fire Department and the family and friends of Fire Chief Josh Kogel, who lost his life while on scene of a structure fire in Huron. 

   And to the Wood VFD and family of Ty Dimond, who was lost in an accident. 

   And to a fellow NVFC friend and committee member, Ron Roy, from Washington state. 

   At the NVFC Fall meetings in New York, NVFC members visited the 9/11 Memorial Monument and placed a ceremonial wreath at the site. 

   Then to cap it all with our SD Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service on 1 October with the addition of the names of Archie Murphy and Fred Fedeler to the monument in Pierre. 

   At times like this, I am reminded of the quote from Reverend Billy Graham. “My home is in Heaven. I am just travelling through this world.”

   As we continue our travels, I pray for safe journeys to all of you. Stay safe,

Charlie Kludt,

SDFA President




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Jeff Gargano - Editor
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