Smokejumpers help contain Black Hills wildfire as 2nd burnsRAPID CITY (AP) — Smokejumpers who parachuted into the Black Hills have helped douse a wildfire near Edgemont, but a second fire continued to burn just a few miles away Wednesday.
RAPID CITY (AP) — Smokejumpers who parachuted into the Black Hills have helped douse a wildfire near Edgemont, but a second fire continued to burn just a few miles away Wednesday.
The Parker Peak Fire was contained Tuesday night with the help of about a dozen smokejumpers from Rawlins, Wyo., fire spokesman Brian Scott said.
“Those smokejumpers are a pretty polished bunch,” Scott said. “The fire is 100 percent contained and now we’re in the heavy mop-up mode.”
The fire, located about five miles northeast of Edgemont, was sparked by lightning on Sunday and charred about 800 acres. It is one of several wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming.
About a dozen miles northeast of Edgemont, the White Draw fire was 60 percent contained Wednesday morning, Scott said. That fire has blackened about 7,800 acres, or about 8 square miles.
Some of the personnel on scene used bulldozers and other heavy equipment Tuesday to create a line to stop the blaze. Intentional fires were then set to burn back into the wildfire, he said.
The approach appeared to be working Wednesday, Scott said, and efforts included crews in tankers and helicopters, as well as more than 20 fire vehicles on the ground.
“We’re having a good day,” he said.
Scott also said the fire was ignited by a “malfunctioning motor home.”
“It was human-caused. Their vehicle started a fire on grass along the highway and it was off to the races after that,” he said.
Four people died and two were injured Sunday when an Air Force tanker that was battling the White Draw fire crashed, the military said Tuesday. The tanker was based out of North Carolina.
Rain was not in the forecast for the area Wednesday, and it appeared the hot, dry weather would continue. Most communities in western South Dakota had called off Fourth of July fireworks displays, not only because of the fire danger but also because local firefighters were helping battle the wildfires.
Great Plains Fire Information spokeswoman Sheila French said other fires in the region include the Highlands Fire, which has scorched about 400 acres between Newcastle, Wyo., and Custer and is 95 percent contained; and the Soldier Fire near Beulah, Wyo., west of Spearfish, which had spread to about 5 acres and was 50 percent contained.
“In the Black Hills area, we are making progress,” French said.
The Highlands Fire destroyed five structures, including two homes, but no one was reported injured, she said.