December 11, 2023

County Burn Ban Revoked

The county burn ban is lifted. What does that mean for fireworks?  It is important to know that there are many burn bans issued by overlapping jurisdictions. State and Federal entities have burn bans and firework restrictions on various areas of Fall River County.  Even with the county issued burn ban revoked, over 60% of Fall River County is still prohibited from open fires and fireworks.

State law 34-37-11 prohibits fireworks and pyrotechnics within 300 feet of the Black Hills Protection District.  The portion of the district lying in Fall River County includes all lands that lay north of the Cheyenne River AND west of SD Highway 79.  Fires in this area are allowed only with a permit.

The same State law prohibits fireworks on land within any national forest, national park, state forest, or on land owned or leased by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.  A violation of this law is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

This restriction of fires and fireworks on public lands is reinforced by restrictions issued by the Federal and State entities managing them.  The Black Hills National Forest, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, GF&P, and other entities have permanent restrictions on fireworks. Fireworks are not allowed, ever, regardless of holidays or weather conditions.  Fires are allowed only in designated recreation areas.

The map below shows the areas in white that do not have a burn ban.

Map showing areas that do not have a burn ban in white.

So where can you shoot fireworks?  On private land south of the Cheyenne River OR east of SD Highway 79 with the landowner’s permission. The municipalities of Hot Springs and Edgemont also allow some fireworks depending on weather conditions.  See the city websites or county website fireworks post for details. Be aware that failure to control or report dangerous fire is a Class 1 Misdemeanor while Reckless burning or exploding is a Class 4 felony.  These charges can be applied when fire or explosions are endangering life or a substantial amount of property.  You may also be held financially responsible for any fire suppression costs if a fire becomes out of control.

So, if you intend to enjoy this 4th of July with fireworks please take some precautions. Don’t wait for a fire to start to find your garden hose; have a bucket of water, a garden hose or fire extinguisher ready.  Having a couple shovels around to throw dirt on the start of a grass fire can also be effective until it can be doused.  Trim the vegetation in areas where you are shooting fireworks and wet the area before and after. Clean out your gutters and clear away dry yard debris. Don’t shoot off fireworks near a house or other structure.

Regarding fireworks, please call dispatch only if you need the fire department or are willing to sign a complaint for charges against an individual you believe to be in violation of the law or city ordinance.

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