Kevin Schuelke, chief of the Milbank Fire and Rescue Department and head of Grant County Emergency Management, says he and county officials labored over the decision to enact or forgo a burn ban for Grant County before the July 4th holiday weekend.
Schuelke says the decision became easier after a large portion of the county recently received measurable amounts of precipitation. Although, the burn ban was not imposed, the chief still urges all residents to exercise extreme caution.
“The rainfall amounts varied from east to west, so, there are still parts of Grant County that remain severely dry,” he says. Even though there are no county-wide burning restrictions, he recommends no burning in those areas.
“A half-inch rain dries out quickly in the weather we have been experiencing. Remember, the party initiating the burning is responsible. Please take this seriously and respect your neighbors” he says. “Use good judgment and take precautions.”
Fireworks are controlled by state statute. As of today, the State of South Dakota has not placed any restrictions on them. However, a city ordinance prohibits the discharging of fireworks within the city limits of Milbank.
Schuelke offered this advice for practicing fireworks safety: 1. Use common sense. If you are in a dry area, don’t use fireworks. Refrain from using airborne fireworks near any dry environment. 2. Have water and a water hose ready.3. Soak fireworks in water when they are done. Do not place fireworks in the garbage. 4. Insist on adult supervision.
“Better yet,” he says, “leave the fireworks up to professionals and public displays.” The Milbank Area Chamber hosts their 2021 fireworks display on Sunday, July 4, at dusk or about 10 p.m. at Lake Farley Park.
According to Schuelke, Grant County officials will continue to monitor conditions and implement burning restrictions as needed.