UPDATE: Crews continue efforts to suppress fire burning in Wind Cave National Park

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK – According to a press release from Wind Cave National Park issued at 5:17 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, firefighters continued their efforts to contain a 1,000 acre fire burning in the interior of Wind Cave National Park. The fire started in the northern region of the park and has been burning to the south, into the park, since it was first reported Monday afternoon. The fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain east of Highway 87 and south of road NPS 5.  

Crews Wednesday worked on line construction to meet containment objectives on the east and west boundaries of the fire.  At this time, there is 0% contained. Ground crews were aided with water drops from two heavy air tankers and a South Dakota Air National Guard Black Hawk helicopter.

Due to the increased complexity of the fire, a Type II incident management team is scheduled to assume management of the fire Thursday morning. This team is bringing logistical support, overhead resources, and additional hand crews. 

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, Nebraska National Forest, South Dakota Department of Corrections, Wyoming Department of Corrections, Boxelder Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, South Dakota Air National Guard, the Custer Ambulance Service, and various volunteer fire departments. 

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.

Posted Wednesday morning, Sept. 13, 2017

UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, Sept. 13, 2017, the Rankin Fire in Wind Cave is now at an estimated 1,000 acres with 0% containment and burning south. The fire was first reported on Monday, Sept. 11, at 1:57 p.m., near the northern border of Wind Cave National Park, where it meets Custer State Park along Hwy. 89.

Following is a press release from Wind Cave National Park, issued Tuesday evening:

Lightning Caused Fire Burning in Wind Cave National Park

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD – Firefighters from multiple agencies are working to contain a lightning caused fire in the northern part of Wind Cave National Park. The fire, first reported Monday afternoon, is burning east of Highway 87 and south of road NPS 5.

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 (now at an estimated 1,000 acres, as of Wednesday morning, Sept. 13). 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.”

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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.

Posted September 12, 2017, 6:14 p.m.

WIND CAVE – With strong winds pushing the smoke into the city of Hot Springs on Tuesday afternoon, crews continue to battle the Rankin Fire, located within the boundaries of Wind Cave National Park.

According to the latest report from Great Plains Fire Information, as of 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, the lightning-caused fire, which was reported at 1:57 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11 south/southwest of Highland Creek Trailhead, had consumed as estimated 300 acres.

Despite crews working throughout the night on Sept. 11 burning out the southern portion of the fire (up to NPS 5 Road and the intersection with Hwy. 87), the fire is being reported at 0% containment thus far. The report stated that incident commander is concerned about the current south winds and crews are working now to secure the northern portions of the fire.

Federal, State, and local resources are on scene, including air attack.

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