Most of the western US is suffering from extreme drought this summer. Just travelling around South Dakota, I can feel the heat and dryness in the air.

All the parks have a campfire ban in effect, and the Forest Service is monitoring campers closely.

Smokey Bear keeping watch at the entrance of Custer State Park

Last night, a thunderstorm passed over Custer State Park. The next morning rangers were evacuating campers from the French Creek area where I was staying. Apparently several small fires had broken out due to lightning strikes.

It looks like these small fires will be contained, but with the current drought and heavy winds, it sure is scary how fast a fire can spread.

Brief aside: speaking of scary, I found this poster online while researching wildfires in the area. How bizarre/racist is this WWII propaganda poster? I prefer good ol’ Smokey…

WWII propaganda meets forest fire propaganda
Source: K.J. Historical

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