South Dakota: White Draw Fire, Wednesday evening on scene update

White Draw Fire, South Dakota,
White Draw Fire, South Dakota,
White Draw Fire, looking south toward Red Canyon from Pilger Mountain Road, July 4, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

At 7:30 Wednesday evening I found myself out at the White Draw Fire, northeast of Edgemont, South Dakota. As of tonight, it is 80 percent contained and has burned 8,900 acres.

The firefighters have, at least for now, successfully stopped the spread of the fire on the north side. In the photo above, the fire on the ridge on the right (or west) side was checked at the edge of the timber with dozer lines and burn outs.

White Draw Fire, South Dakota,
White Draw fire looking south from Pilger Mountain Road, near Elbow Canyon Road, July 4, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

The crews put some effort into preparation of the north side along Pilger Mountain Road before beginning the burnout. They used graders or dozers to scrape along the sides of the road, doubling or tripling the width of the effective fireline, and pruned trees and eliminated brush and other ladder fuels near the road. This reduced the chances of intense heat leading to spot fires across the road during the burnout. I saw where one spot fire occurred, but it was held to about 20 feet in diameter. Great job, folks!

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.