Warm temperatures and low humidity are expected to push the Grassland Fire Danger Index into the high and very high categories today, continuing burn bans in Lawrence and Pennington counties.

Those activations come in the wake of a county-wide burn ban implemented Monday by the Jackson County Commission. Butte and Fall River counties have not lifted burn bans implemented in 2012.

With drought conditions intensifying in western South Dakota, the National Weather Service begin issuing fire weather reports on Monday, about five days ahead of schedule, meteorologist Gregg Richards said Thursday.

"Temperatures are warming, and things are quite brown and dry, so that's why we're starting," he said.

Temperatures pushed into the 60s in Rapid City and Spearfish on Wednesday afternoon and could climb into the 70s today, but with higher humidity, Richards said.

As dry as it is, however, the humidity will do little to slow down a fire, Richards said.

"With all of that brown grass, it won't make much difference," he said.

Brent Long, information officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, asked residents to be careful while enjoying the warm spring weather.

"Anytime we're out enjoying this wonderful weather we have to be vigilant with any ignition sources," he said. "We want to get our toys out and play, but there are so many ways we can create heat, friction or throw a spark."

There is a chance for moisture this weekend, but most of the precipitation is expected to fall over North Dakota, Richards said.

The best shot at any measurable precipitation is at least 10 days away, the meteorologist said.

Contact Andrea J. Cook at 394-8423 or andrea.cook@rapidcityjournal.com

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