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Pine Ridge fire flares up to 600-acres; firework named as cause

Billowing smoke hovers over reservation land burned in a firework-induced wildfire on...
Billowing smoke hovers over reservation land burned in a firework-induced wildfire on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Firefighters have found it difficult to attack the fire head-on due to high winds and plan to wait for favorable weather conditions before carrying out a direct assault on the fire. (BIA Forestry & Wildland Fire Management - Pine Ridge Agency) (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 11:56 AM CDT
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UPDATE: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Forestry & Wildfire Land Management released more info on the Wilson Road Fire that has scorched forested areas southeast of Oglala.

According to a post on BIA Pine Ridge Agency's Facebook page, the fire tripled in size from 200-acres to approximately 600-acres across timber and tall grass in the area as of 2:27 p.m. Wednesday.

Initial reports showed the cause of the fire had human origins; BIA has since clarified by adding that a firework is the culprit behind the blaze. Investigators have not labeled any suspects in this case.

Firefighters plan to establish a containment line with aerial support from heli-tankers. The Wilson Road Fire is still 35 percent contained, with control being threatened by winds and high temperatures.

Fire crews are working to save five-to-10 structures from the growing wildfire.

We will update this story with new information as it becomes available.

11:31 a.m. - A large wildfire tearing through southern Pine Ridge Reservation lands is being attributed to human causes.

According to the InciWeb Incident Information System website, firefighters are battling a 200-acre fire burning near Wilson Road southeast of Oglala as of Wednesday.

Fire crews have been attacking the blaze through controlled burns and heli-tankers since Tuesday evening. The blaze quieted overnight, but has since picked up and is considered active.

The initial incident overview indicates the wildfire is of human origin, though the report does not go into further detail.

The fire is currently 35 percent contained, but steep terrain, temperatures in the 90s and sustained 20-25 mile per hour winds with 40 mile per hour gusts have made direct attacks difficult.

Crews protected 10 structures from the fire, but five others remain endangered.

Responding agencies from Rosebud, Martin and Rushville VFD plan to burn fuels around the fire to prevent further spread. Firefighters are planning to directly attack the fire, weather permitting.