May 21, 2019


Notice is herby given that The Hand County Open Burning Advisory Board has voted to enact a burn ban effective June 8th, 2017. A complete copy of the burn ban ordinance can be found here: Burn Ban Ordinance NO. 08-01 Please contact the Hand County Emergency Management Office 605-204-0267 or the Hand County Sheriff’s Office 605-853-2408 for any burn ban questions.


Notice is hereby given that Hand County through its Board of Zoning will hold a hearing for the purpose of taking testimony from interested parties who are either proponents or opponents of the requested application for conditional use permit requested by Northern Prime Feeders, LLC (proposing construction of a 50,000 head feedlot) located at the Eagle Pass Ranch property located in the SW 1/4 and W 1/2 SE 1/4 of section 20; N 1/2 NW 1/4 and NW 1/4 NE 1/4 of section 29; government lots 3 and 4 and SE 1/4 of section 19; and government lot 1 and N 1/2 NE 1/4 of section 30 all in township 112-70 (Ree Heights).  Prior to the meeting, the Zoning Administrator will receive written comments under the following conditions:

1.      They must be either printed or type written for legibility.

2.      They must be signed legibly by all parties represented in the comment.

3.      The comments must clearly state the person or persons or organization submitting the comment and who their spokesperson is.

4.      The writer must declare in the first paragraph if the comment is in support of, or against, or neutral as to adoption or passage of the conditional use permit.

5.      The comments are to either be delivered to or mailed in printed form to the Zoning Administrator c/o: Hand County Assessor’s Office, 415 West 1st Avenue, Miller, South Dakota 57362.

6.      The comment period begins March 12, 2014 and ends April 2, 2014.  Comments not postmarked or received by April 2, 2014 may not be considered for review.

7.      The writer acknowledges in presentation of the comment that it is a public record and open to inspection and reproduction upon request of any interested party.


A public hearing will be held on April 22, 2014 at 1 P.M. (CT) in the courtroom of the Hand County courthouse at which time public testimony will be taken from proponents and from opponents as it relates to passage of the conditional use permit.  Testimony can be offered under the following conditions:


1.      The person to offer testimony must notify the zoning administrator by April 18, 2014 and provide all printed materials for distribution.  The printed materials must be written in the same manner as the written comments above.

2.      Copies are to be provided by the presenter for each of the board members and any member of the gallery requested them. (local staff will not make copies)

3.      The person offering testimony must identify themselves to the panel and state whether they are speaking as a proponent, opponent or are neutral in their position.

4.      The person offering testimony is to speak clearly, loudly and to the panel, no comments will be addressed to the crowd, only the zoning board.

5.      Testimony is to be confined to the issuance of the conditional use permit.

6.      Each speaker will be allowed 3 minutes to offer testimony.  At the conclusion, the speaker will return to their seat.  There will be no “yielding” of one speakers time to another.

7.      Groups will be heard individually, by a single spokesperson and only if they are registered individually.



The public safety exercise was completed on September 26 and by most accounts…went very well.  From a L.E. perspective we learned a great deal about what we lack in deploying help from assisting agencies.  Those problems are:  Lack of Communication.  We currently lack a full time officer manager / dispatcher and taking & placing calls from the field is very difficult and counterproductive.  The sheriff’s staff needs to engage the leadership of the fire departments and ambulance sooner to affect a coordinated response and defining leadership to the responders.

Nehemia and I would like to “THANK” everyone who helped with this exercise and let you know that it was taxing at times and also very gratifying to see things work.  You all did a great job, even when things didn’t feel like they were going well…in the end, progress was being made.




Emergency Management Officials will hold a countywide public safety exercise on September 26, 2012.

The exercise will be centered out of St. Lawrence. This was done because most exercises have either been rural or in or close to Miller. The idea is expand into the communities and bring in new players, participants and environments.

There will be “no” explosions or fires set during this exercise. There will be people / responders on foot or in vehicles and they may engage anyone to achieve their response goals. We would encourage everyone; responder, volunteer or person contacted to “play along” as if was a real event and be truthful. The planning team has the agenda laid out so you will not need to pretend or makeup situations if approached by a responder.

If you are interested in participating, please check out this week’s Miller Press and then on Wednesday wait for the signal or information to be presented.

As with all planned exercises…safety is our first objective and we do not want anyone to place themselves for anyone else in harm’s way.

Sheriff Doug DeBoer & Emergency Manager Nehemia Volquardsen.

For full details, view this message on the web.



FIRE PROTECTION:  The authority to activate or deactivate the “burn ban” rests with a committee which reports to the county commission.  This committee is comprised of one member from each organized fire department in the county, normally the fire chief, the county emergency manager and the county sheriff.  None of the cities are represented on the committee because the county does not have authority to regulate such matters within the confines of the cities.  Each city council is empowered to address that issue.

In times when a “burn ban” is not in place, the sheriff’s office through it’s dispatch function, notifies agencies over the mutual aid radio system, the NIXLE text / email alert system, or direct email or text, or other means if appropriate, of weather conditions which cause concern for open burning. We use the National Weather Service website as our tool for understanding fire conditions.  You too can access this information at .  Another useful link for fire danger is found at .  This link provides a visual dipiction of fire weather status for the state of South Dakota.

The website will give you the information you need to determine present weather conditions, fire hazards (red flag), and weekly forecasts.

Burn bans typically do not include the burning of household trash in a barrel or other enclosed container and also does not include large incinerators which are enclosed.

Open burning represents a threat for the day it occurs and the days that follow it.  A dormant fire can rekindle easily with the right mixture of wind and humidity.  “Cow patties” can lay burning, dormant for days and be rekindled with little change in the weather.  These types of fires should be monitored regularly.

Anyone who lets a fire spread without due caution or regard can be held criminally and civilly responsible through court action.  We suggest that those who burn exercise extreme care and caution and be mindful of your neighbors.

The sheriff’s office will not tell you that you “can not burn”, we will tell you it is not recommended.  The decision to light that fire rests with the person, agent or property owner who strikes up the source of ignition.  If a burn ban is issued, other consequences can be imposed in addition to those previously discussed.

Sheriff DeBoer