Members of the Alpine Hotshots walk to their assignment as the Cold Brook prescribed fire began. (Click on the photos to see larger versions.)
Today the National Park Service began igniting the 2,199-acre Cold Brook prescribed fire in Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The project is in a wildland urban interface area with several private residences within a quarter mile of the site. The expectation was that Unit #1 would be burned today, October 23, and additional burning in Units #2 and/or #3 would occur on Friday. (See the map below.)
The goals are to reduce fuel loading in the ponderosa pine forest, decrease encroachment of young ponderosa pine into the prairie, and to decrease the wildfire threat for the nearby residences.
The project is adjacent to US Highway 385, which could be occasionally closed.
Dan Swanson and Mike Prowatzke (L to R) use a chart to convert the wet and dry bulb temperatures to a relative humidity reading on the Cold Brook prescribed fire. It turned out to be 27 percent as this photo was taken at 11 a.m. on October 12, 2014.
Eric Allen, the Fire Management Officer for the NPS’ Northern Great Plains Area, conducts the briefing (as the Burn Boss) for the Cold Brook prescribed fire in Wind Cave National Park. NPS photo.
Hunter “Snooki” Smith of the Alpine Hot Shots pauses while lighting the Cold Brook prescribed fire.
I inevitably took several photos of Hunter “Snooki” Smith (above) of the Alpine Hotshots because I was on a road and he was lighting adjacent to the road. One of his fellow crew members gave him a hard time about being in so many pictures, and as this photo was taken he was explaining that, Hey, I’m just here and he is taking my picture. I then told the other crew members (jokingly) that Mr. Smith gave me a dollar to take his picture, which produced some laughter among the crew.
This is a thermal infrared image of three members of the Alpine Hotshots standing in front of some burning grass on the edge of the prescribed fire. I will write more about the thermal imagery in another article.