The state was bringing more resources Wednesday evening to fight an estimated 150-acre fire near Mount Rushmore.
Ian Fury, the communications director for Gov. Noem’s office, said Wednesday night that South Dakota Wildland Fire is leading a multi-state, multi-agency effort that includes Custer State Park, the U.S. Forest Service, volunteers and local resources to battle the forest fire.
It started late Wednesday morning in Custer State Park, which is just south of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. According to an initial post on the Custer State Park Facebook page, the blaze was heading northwest from a maintenance shop near Highway 16A. The park said no structures or public areas were threatened at that time.
The post also said that multiple interagency resources were on scene, including Type 1 and Type 3 helicopters.
The fire, which was named the Mine Draw Fire by the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center (RMACC), was suspected of burning 150 acres six miles south of Mount Rushmore by 4:30 p.m., according to a tweet from the website Wildfire Today that was later confirmed by Fury.
A park employee told the Journal that no one was being evacuated as of 4 p.m. and that water was being drawn from Center Lake to help douse the flames.
According to a tweet from RMACC, fire crews requested a second large air tanker around 3:15 p.m. About 45 minutes later, RMACC reported on Twitter that there were eight aerial resources engaged in firefighting efforts.
In the same tweet, RMACC said there was a Temporary Flight Restriction in place over the fire.
The Rapid City Fire Department tweeted around 4 p.m. that it was sending Engine 3-6 with four personnel to assist.
RMACC then tweeted around 5:30 p.m. that hotshot crews from Wyoming and Colorado were mobilized to assist in the Mine Draw fire.
Custer State Park tweeted at 7 p.m. that Highway 87 North from the Highway 16A and Needles Highway intersection was closed.
Maggie Seidel, policy director for Gov. Noem, said late Wednesday afternoon that the situation remains fluid.
"State Wildland Firefighters on the ground have the full resources of the state and are working diligently to contain it," she said in an email to the Journal around 5 p.m. "As more details are available, we will provide them."
TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) in place over the Mine Draw fire. Reminder drones near wildfires are not safe! If you fly, we can't. Presently there are 8 aerial resources engaged in firefighting efforts.— RMACC (@RMACCinfo) June 24, 2020
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