Wildfire activity increases in the Black Hills

(Originally published at 10:12 MDT June 26, 2016; Douglas fire updated at 2:10 p.m. MDT June 25, 2016))

Crow Peak Fire
Crow Peak Fire June 25, 2016. Photo by Robert Cota, Boxelder Job Corps Crew 15 Fire Program Manager, Black Hills National Forest.

Firefighters are suppressing four wildfires in the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota, ranging from 64 to 5,000 acres.

Fires Black Hills
Fires in the Black Hills June 25, 2016. Click to enlarge.

Kara Creek: 5,000 acres 4 miles east of Keyhole Reservoir, 15 miles west of Sundance, Wyoming, and about 3 miles north of Interstate 90. Before the fire was reported Friday evening a lightning storm accompanied by very strong winds hit the area. Air tankers, Type 1 hand crews, and Type 2IA hand crews have been ordered.

A resident of Upton, Wyoming told us that the clouds were generating rain but it evaporated before hitting the ground. They said the fire was putting up a large amount of smoke Friday evening.

(UPDATE at 5:54 p.m. MDT June 25: with the growth of the Kara Creek fire to 12,000 acres, we dedicated a separate article to just that fire. It has much more information about this fire.

Douglas: 1,785 acres; it started Thursday 10 miles southwest of Sundance, Wyoming and is being managed by a Type 3 incident management team. On Friday the fire was most active on the southwest side where, according to the Rapid City Journal, new evacuations were ordered. More information is in our earlier article about the Douglas Fire, and we have a gallery of photos here.

(UPDATE for the Douglas Fire at 2:10 p.m. MDT June 25, 2016)

At about 11 a.m. today fire officials for the Douglas Fire released this information:

The Douglas Fire saw growth early in the day yesterday but stabilized as the day went on. The fire is estimated at 2000 acres and is now contained.

Incident Command of the Douglas Fire shifted to Type 4 Incident Commander Dallas Roth this morning. Four fire engines and one handcrew will remain on the Douglas Fire to ensure the fire stays contained.

The evacuation of Sundance Canyon Ranch subdivision has been lifted.

Rapid Creek: 1,000 acres. It was reported Friday afternoon near the intersection of 158th Avenue and East Highway 44, 24 miles southeast of Rapid City in the Farmingdale area. The heat-sensing satellites did not detect any heat overnight from this fire, which may indicate that it burned in light fuels, such as grass, and was relatively cool during the subsequent overflight.

Crow Peak: 64 acres, 5 miles west of Spearfish, SD. A Type 3 incident management team has been ordered. Great Plains dispatch office reported that firefighters were pulled off the fire Friday night due to the passage of a cold front bringing strong winds. The fire was reported Friday afternoon.

UPDATE at 8:48 a.m. MDT June 26, 2016:  More recent information about the Crow Peak and Kara Creek Fires. A Type 2 incident management team, with Incident Commander Shane Greer, has been ordered. The Forest Service reports the Crow Peak Fire has burned 250 acres.

Crow Peak Fire
Crow Peak Fire June 25, 2016. Photo by Robert Cota, Boxelder Job Corps Crew 15 Fire Program Manager, Black Hills National Forest.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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4 thoughts on “Wildfire activity increases in the Black Hills”

  1. We live in Nemo, SD. The smoke from Crow Peak and WY fires is pretty intense here. We tried to call local US Forest Service offices in Rapid City, Mystic and Spearfish. No one answered the phones, nor were there any information on voice messages. How do you and who do you contact when you want to report a fire, or check on wildfire activity? Linda Boyle “Dumbfounded in Nemo”

    1. Linda to report a fire call 911. Drift smoke will be in the area (Nemo for the next few days) due to wildfires that are burning in Wyoming and the Crow Peak area near Spearfish.

  2. Linda, a good way to check on the status of a current fire is to go to http:// inciweb.nwcg.gov

    This site lists and gives detailed information about every current fire in the US. You can search in the upper right hand corner by state or by incident.

  3. I had a similar experience to Linda’s. We live in Newcastle. During the Oil Creek fire in 2012, the community was put on a “level 2 evacuation order”, which was announced on the local radio station.

    It was very frustrating trying to find out what that meant in terms of our response. At the time, I could find NO explanation on any of the government websites, including disaster preparedness, US Forest Service, Homeland Security, fire department, police or sheriff’s department sites, and no explanation was offered on the local radio station, either. We don’t all speak wildfire jargon so that announcement was frustratingly meaningless to many of the people it affected.

    I came across this site at that time; I’ve come to depend on Wildfire Today for the most accurate and current information regarding fires in the Black Hills area, but even that information tends to be several hours old.

    Perhaps a link to a webpage explaining the various terms used for warning and evacuations and recommended/required actions would not only be a help, it might save lives.

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