RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Record heat and extended drought sparked a huge increase in the number and severity of wildfires in South Dakota this year, forcing the state to spend nearly five times what it spent to battle blazes last year.
The number of wildfires nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012, putting a strain on the budgets of small fire departments, causing the cancellations of July 4 fireworks displays, leading to a ban on open campfires and causing stress among firefighters, according to the Rapid City Journal.
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