Custer, SD, October 26, 2016 – Forest Officials from the Northern Hills Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest are planning to burn approximately 190 acres on the Rifle Pit Prescribed Fire Project units 1 and 2 tomorrow, Thursday, October 27, depending on weather. Smoke will be visible for several miles and may persist for several days.
The Rifle Pit units are approximately 3 miles southeast of Cement Ridge Lookout on the South Dakota/Wyoming Line off Wagon Canyon Road (FS 805.3).
Objectives of the burn are to reduce surface and ladder fuels that contribute to crown fire hazard, thereby protecting nearby homes, while also providing fire managers safe and effective areas in which to manage future wildland fires. Additional goals include providing diverse ecosystems and improving big game and songbird/raptor habitat. This area has experienced heavy bark beetle mortality, and prescribed fire will help move conditions towards restoring this landscape.
Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. A prescribed burn will not be ignited unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan.
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. The public is also encouraged to contact a nearby Forest Service office with questions.
Fire officials will continue to monitor the fire through the weekend.
For more information on Black Hills National Forest prescribed fire, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/blackhills/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=STELPRDB5112694