Fire season begins in the Black Hills

Jason Scott of the U.S. Forest Service . Photo by Seth A. McConnell, Rapid City Journal

It was a small lightning-caused fire, but the half-acre 0.2 acre Buzzard Roost blaze south of Rapid City near Falling Rock Tuesday afternoon (map) was one of the first, if not THE first, wildfires in the Black Hills this year. It has been a cold, wet Spring here this year, at times setting records for low temperatures.

This story made it onto Wildfire Today not because of the significance of the fire, but due to the photo taken by Seth McConnell. You don’t really see enough action shots of chain saw operators battling flames, one on one. Did you notice how he is turning his face away from the heat? Those of us who have been chain saw operators and fallers on hot shot crews have been in his shoes. I also like how Mr. McConnell used a fast shutter speed to freeze the flames–too often flames are blurred in fire photos.

The photographers at the Rapid City Journal maintain a blog, and here is the text written by Seth McConnell that accompanied this photo on their blog today:

The Black Hills saw its first official wild fire of the season when a lightning strike sparked a half acre blaze just south of Rapid City near Falling Rock this afternoon. I almost blew the call off when I heard it as we’ve had a massive amount of moisture this Spring and there was no way this could be true.

It was a tiny blaze in rugged country and I almost didn’t make it back in but a neighbor on an ATV with the only public easement for the forest service road leading to the blaze offered me a ride. I didn’t catch his name and I didn’t get an opportunity to really thank him as he took off while I was shooting but it was a kind gesture and greatly appreciated. I didn’t make the most interesting photos in the world as it was a small blaze with little to no visible flames and a lot of smoke.

It was well worth the several miles of hiking to get back out of the fire area though. We had no fire season at all last year, it will be interesting to see what happens this year as we head into Summer this weekend and what July and August have in store.



Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.