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53 acres burned in wildfire near Custer

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 6:45 PM CST
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) - Crews remain at the scene of the Hazelrodt Fire, two miles southeast of Custer. With cold weather coming in, there are new fears about what that could mean for containing the blaze.

The fire near Hazelrodt Cutoff south east of Custer started a little after 1 PM Wednesday. Crews from across the region, including the National Forest Service, are responding to the flames.

As temperatures continue to drop, new concerns about combating the fire arise.

Incident Commander Todd Hoover said that the conditions are causing water to freeze in the pumps and hoses.

“The way we’re dealing with that is, instead of spraying a bunch of water and stirring it up like we normally do, we’re trying to move the heavy fuels further into the fire, taking away the chance that the fire may spot and spread on,” Hoover said.

The Black Hills region is experiencing dryer than normal conditions given the mild winter so far. Hoover said that moisture brought with the cold would be welcome for those combating the blaze.

“It would allow us to have the fire completely contained and controlled and allow us to get the guys back inside where it’s warm since the moisture would suppress and stop the fire for us,” Hoover said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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