A flurry of thunderstorms sparked several small wildfires throughout the Black Hills National Forest on Thursday, prompting Federal, State and local fire crews to take immediate action to contain and control the incidents. Matters were complicated further by a couple of small campfires left burning and unattended.
The largest wildfire, the Horse Trap Fire, occurred in very rugged Forest Service terrain near Minnekahta Junction on Highway 18. While this fire was initially estimated at 3.5 acres, gusty winds caused the fire to grow to 11 acres overnight. At the time of this release, the fire was estimated at 20% contained, with control estimated sometime Saturday.
Other lightning-caused Southern Hills fires starting last night included:
The Red Star Fire, occurring near Pringle and burning a tenth of acre
The 313 Fire, burning a third of an acre near Carrol Creek Road
The Richardson Fire, located west of Highway 89 near Pleasant Valley
All three of those incidents were located on Forest Service land and were quickly contained and controlled by responding Federal, State and local resources.
Additionally, two separate campfires were left burning and unattended on Forest Service land in the Central Hills, but were immediately put out upon detection by responding Federal, State and local resources.
In the Northern Hills, the Doghouse Fire burned in an area 3 miles southwest of Crow Peak, while the Grand Canyon fire was located between Grand Canyon and Wagon Canyon along the South Dakota/Wyoming border. Both fires were located on Forest Service land, grew to less than a tenth of an acre in size, and were quickly contained and controlled by responding Federal, State and local resources.
Visitors on the forest are reminded to please make sure your campfires are dead-out and cold to the touch before leaving them unattended. Also, wet forests can dry quickly and fires can still burn when combined with significant amounts of rain. Finally, a reminder that fireworks are prohibited on the Black Hills National Forest and within the Black Hills Fire Protection District. Possessing, discharging, or using any kind of fireworks or pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on all National Forest and National Grasslands within the Rocky Mountain Region year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays.