UPDATED at 11:20 p.m., July 19, 2012
The Myrtle Fire that was reported Thursday at 1:30 p.m. has already burned 1,200 to 1,500 acres and is causing evacuations between Pringle and Hot Springs in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The fire started about 3 miles east of the small town of Pringle between US Highway 385 and Beaver Creek Road.
A wind shift in the late afternoon made things difficult for firefighters. As you can see in the photo above which looks toward the north, the fire was pushed by a west wind when the picture was taken at 4:12 p.m. At around 5 or 6 p.m., when the temperature at the nearby Elk Mountain weather station was 104 degrees and the relative humidity was 9 percent, the wind died and then began blowing out of the north and northeast. This caused spotting across Highway 385 as the fire spread rapidly to the west and south. By 10 p.m. it was approaching Shirt Tail Road and at 10:45 the Hot Springs Fire Department was toned out to assist with evacuations in the “Argyle Road West” area, which is south of Pringle and north of Hot Springs. Some areas north of Argyle Road and south of Wind Cave National Park are affected by the evacuations.
InciWeb should have more information about the fire on Friday.
The first heavy air tankers were requested at about 3:40 p.m., and two were dispatched from Montana, the dispatcher told the Incident Commander. About an hour later two additional large air tankers were requested. The first one, a P2V, arrived at 7:14 p.m., almost six hours after the fire was reported. The second arrived before 8 p.m. As far as I know the additional two that were ordered did not arrive at all on Thursday.
What’s wrong with this picture: the first air tankers arrived at the fire AFTER a Type 1 Incident Management Team (Hahnenberg) was ordered, which is used for managing the largest, most complex wildfires. Who knows, the IMTeam, with an ETA of 6 p.m. Friday, may arrive before the third and fourth air tankers show up.
That decision to release the DC-10 very large air tanker from its Call When Needed assignment on Monday is not looking very brilliant right now.
We posted some videos of the fire HERE, and more photos are below:
(To purchase a similar photo of the Umpqua engine crew, framed if you want, click HERE.)