Forest Service to conduct prescribed fire in Black Hills

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - That smoke on Ellsworth Air Force Base Tuesday morning was a prescribed fire; something you will see a lot of this fall. That includes a prescribed fire Wednesday in the Black Hills National Forest.

The Mystic Ranger District plans to burn 431 acres, to complete the Silver Mountain project Wednesday, depending on weather. Smoke will be visible for several miles and could be over Highway 16, Rockerville, Rapid City and other surrounding areas.

The Silver Mountain project area is about 10 miles west-southwest of Rapid City, between Highway 16 and Sheridan Lake Road, along Boulder Hill Road to the west.

Temporary road closures will be in effect for Boulder Hill Road, Berretta Road and one lane of westbound Highway 16.

According to a release from the Forest Service, the goal of the Silver Mountain Prescribed Fire is to maintain a mosaic of vegetation conditions created by the Battle Creek Fire of 2002. This project will lessen the severity and extent of future wildfires in the project area by breaking up the continuity of dead, downed fuels, ultimately reducing those fuel loads.

Fire will also be used as a tool to thin pine regeneration and increase canopy base heights. Additionally, this burn will stimulate browse for big game species.

Forest visitors, including hunters, are asked to be aware of their surroundings and watch for prescribed burning operations in the months ahead. Areas where burning operations are taking place will be signed to notify visitors.

For more information on Black Hills National Forest prescribed fire, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/blackhills/fire/?cid=FSEPRD575179.