South Dakota: Myrtle Fire causing evacuations south of Pringle

Air tanker dropping on the Myrtle Fire
Myrtle Fire
Myrtle Fire at 4:12 p.m., about 3 hours after it started on July 19. The photo looks north across Wind Cave National Park. Photo by Bill Gabbert

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.

Myrtle Fire map at 1018 pm, Jun 19, 2012
Myrtle fire. Map showing heat detected by a satellite at 10:18 p.m., July 19, 2012. Click to enlarge.

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.

Air tanker dropping on the Myrtle Fire
Air tanker 07 dropping on the Myrtle Fire at 8:24 p.m. July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

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.

Myrtle Fire helicopters
Helicopters dropping on the Myrtle Fire, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

We posted some videos of the fire HERE, and more photos are below:

Myrtle Fire, Flathead NF Engine
Engine 62 from the Flathead National Forest in northern Montana protecting a structure on the Myrtle Fire, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert
Myrtle Fire Flathead NF engine
Engine 62 from the Flathead National Forest protecting a structure near Rifle Pit Road on the Myrtle Fire, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert
Myrtle Fire K-MAX
K-MAX helicopter working on the Myrtle fire, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Myrtle Fire Umpqua NF engine
The Engine 25 crew from the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon, stages on Rifle Pit road on the Myrtle Fire, July 19, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

(To purchase a similar photo of the Umpqua engine crew, framed if you want, click HERE.)

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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.

8 thoughts on “South Dakota: Myrtle Fire causing evacuations south of Pringle”

  1. I am the daughter of Gary and Cindy of Double D bed and breakfast off Argyle Road. I am praying for everyone in the area and hope they get this contained so that nobody loses their home. We come up to the Black Hills every year and it saddens me to see the devastation.

  2. Nice pics Bill. Looks like you’ve still got some “fire” for fire, even in retirement. Me too. Spent the past 5 weeks in CO, SD, and MT. Stay safe out there. We don’t run as fast as we used to, ya know.

  3. I live in one of the homes evacuated on the south edge of wind cave park. Can you please post an updated location map, or share the link where this is available? Thanksfor the good information.

  4. We visited some friends in Pringle last night and watched the fire from their yard. The sound of the rushing roar of the fire was incredible.

  5. Unfortunately, the ordering of an IMT is needed (sometimes) before the local GACC or NICC put it on their “priority list” for the very few airtankers that are available.

    Something is FUBAR.


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