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Rankin Fire in Wind Cave National Park
courtesy photo
Rankin Fire in Wind Cave National Park
Wildfire in Wind Cave National Park one of several burning around the Black Hills
News Staff - September 13, 2017

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire that has grown to 1,000 acres at Wind Cave National Park in southwestern South Dakota.

Officials say the fire that started Monday was caused by a lightning strike near the park's northern border. Grass and timber are fueling the fire in steep, rocky terrain.  

The Great Plains Fire Dispatch says the incident commander is concerned about south winds fueling the fire which has not been contained. About 85 firefighters are working the wildfire.

The fire is burning toward the south, in steep, rocky terrain fueled by grass and timber. A Type III incident management team is overseeing the work of approximately 85 firefighters and support staff. 

Utilizing existing roads, trails, and a mow line to aid line construction and to provide for firefighter safety, crews Tuesday successfully conducted a burn-out operation. This operation increased the size of the burn from 300 acres to around 500 acres. At this time, there is no estimate of the amount contained or controlled.

“September and October are historically when we have the biggest fires in the park,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We encourage everyone to be extra cautious with their outdoor activities due to the hot and dry conditions we are experiencing.”

Federal, state, and local crews assigned to the fire are from the National Park Service, Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire, Custer State Park, Argyle Fire Department, Rapid City Fire Department, Nebraska National Forest, South Dakota Department of Corrections, Wyoming Department of Corrections, Boxelder Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, and the Custer Ambulance Service. 

Currently the only closures are the northern segment of NPS 5 and all backcountry hiking trails north of Wind Cave Canyon. The park visitor center remains open with cave tours leaving from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the day.

Here is a listing of other fires that were or are burning in the area from Great Plains Fire Dispatch:

Coffee Wildfire

  • Reported: 5:35 PM
  • Location: Sioux County, Nebraska,  near Montrose
  • Size: 750
  • Cause: lightning
  • Local resources, and 1 SEAT aircraft responded
  • Contained and controlled


Pasture 16 Wildfire

  • Reported: 5:00 PM
  • Location: Sioux County, Nebraska,  22 mi NW of Crawford.
  • Size: 51
  • Cause: lightning
  • Federal and local resources responded


Cold Draw Wildfire

  • Reported: 4:45 PM
  • Location: 25 miles southwest of Wall, SD
  • Size: 14.79
  • Cause: lightning
  • Federal and local resources responded
  • Contained


#6 Wildfire

  • Reported: 3:58 PM
  • Location: Fall River County, 1 mile south of mile marker 70 on Hwy. 18, Slim Buttes Rd.
  • Size: in mop up stages, more information to follow
  • Cause: lightning
  • Local resources responded


Rock Wildfire

  • Reported: 3:29 PM
  • Location: Dawes co, NE 6-7 mi s of Crawford, NE
  • Size: 2.6 acres
  • Cause: lightning
  • Federal, State, and local resources responded
  • Contained


East 40 Wildfire

  • Reported: 3:16 PM
  • Location: near Badlands National Park
  • Size: 152 acres
  • Cause: lightning
  • Federal and State resources are responding
  • Contained


Snyder Ranch Wildfire

  • Reported: 3:00 PM
  • Location: near weigh station on I-90, Meade County
  • Size: .25
  • Cause: lightning 
  • Federal, State resources are responded
  • 0% containment


Sanders Wildfire

  • Reported: 8:30 am
  • Location: Bald Hills area along Hwy. 385/Victoria Lake Road
  • Size: 3.5 acres
  • Cause: human caused
  • Federal, State, and local resources responded
  • Contained
Blackhawk Wildfire
  • Reported: 5:52 pm - September 11
  • Location: Crook County, WY - Near Cook Lake 
  • Size: 8.3 acres 
  • Cause: Human Equipment 
  • Federal, State, and local resources are on scene and in mop-up 
  • 50% containment at this time


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