Modifying fuels near a home in a high risk area is important to reduce fire behavior in the event of a wildfire. To help homeowners accomplish this task, the City of Rapid City will offer chipping of removed fuels for high risk neighborhoods by appointment.
This is not a debris removal, landscaping or cleanup project. The larger woody brush, small pines, cedars, junipers, and other overgrown woody brush material pose the greatest fire threat. Debris or landscaping described as unacceptable will not be removed. Piles mixed with unacceptable materials may not be removed.
For more information on the chipping program, please contact Lt. Eric O'Connor at (605)-394-5233.
Survivable Space Initiative
Homeowners, like this couple on the left, who improve the safety of their home and property from wildland fire may receive recognition from the city.
The Survivable Space Initiative works to create survivable spaces, meaning they are more likely to withstand a wildfire without intervention and direct protection by fire fighters. During a large wildfire event, fire fighting resources may not be able to protect all properties.
Rapid City homeowners who meet minimum standards in protecting their property from wildland fire may receive the Survivable Space Initiative recognition which includes a plaque to post on the property and a certificate.
Homewoners in high risk areas may also request a chipper and crew remove piles of smaller wildfire fuels in their community. To learn more, click here.
Lieutenant O'Connor is happy to speak with homeowners associations or neighborhood groups about the Survivable Space Initiative.
Most homeowners are aware of their danger but need guidance and cost assistance. The Rapid City Fire Department works with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the local Great Plains Fire Safe Council to make education and grant money available to homeowners.
Communities in Rapid City are receiving national Firewise Recognition for their ongoing efforts to make their neighborhood more resistive to fire. Check back later to learn more about those communities.
To read our Open Letter to Homeowners, please click here.
Before: Fire can easily spread from the grass to the trees and to this house.
After: The space is survivable due to the non-combustible roof and siding, the low vegetation near the house, green grass barrier, and an open tree canopy.
Open, well-maintained areas can create a barrier between the fire and the home.
Screening under the deck helps to prevent flying embers from smoldering in debris near the home, preventing a common cause of wildland urban interface fires.
Before (above): Dense undergrowth can quickly spread a fire into the trees and to the home.
After (below): Thinning produces a clean, safe, and park-like setting.