Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two Prescribed Fires Planned at Custer State Park

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2016
Contact: Jeni Lawver, 605.381.7232

Two Prescribed Fires Planned At Custer State Park

RAPID CITY, S.D.— The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Wildland Fire Division, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and Custer State Park will be conducting two prescribed burns in Custer State Park this week.

These burns are scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12 and 13. The Swint Well prescribed fire project is located in the southeast corner of Custer State Park north of the Wildlife Visitor Station and the South Fork prescribed fire is located in the very southeast corner of the park. Firefighters are planning on burning approximately 1,000 acres.

Residents and visitors in the surrounding area of the prescribed burn may see smoke, although this burn will primarily take place in grass fuels, residual smoke should be limited. The area will continue to be monitored by firefighters in the days following the prescribed burns.

Additional plans have been made with contingency resources in the event of an escape; resources will be present to assist for an additional margin of safety.

Prescribed fire is utilized to maintain healthy native vegetation communities and is needed to prevent the encroachment of invasive species. Fire also reduces the hazardous buildup of debris and dead vegetation which can fuel wildfires.

Resource objectives for the burn include improving range conditions and grass habitat for wildlife. Prescribed fire objectives include providing the seasonal firefighter work force the opportunity to improve their skills prior to fire season, to provide for trainee firefighters to work on task books to become qualified in positions in a more controlled manner with proper oversight of qualified firefighters, and to provide interagency cooperation.

Benefits also include providing the opportunities to improve relationships with adjacent property owners and agencies.

Participating agencies include:  South Dakota Wildland Fire, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Custer State Park, the Black Hills National Forest and the Nebraska National Forest.