South Dakota fire crews clear ice storm debris

The video above  features two South Dakota Type 2 hand crews that are assigned in the Sioux Falls area to clear trees that fell or were damaged during a recent ice storm.

The Black Hat and the Bear Mountain crews work for the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire. According to the Bear Mountain crew’s web site:

The crew’s primary function is that of hazardous fuels reduction on state and private lands within the Black Hills. The crew is available for both in-state and out-of-state dispatch assignments, and has responded to various all risk incidents throughout the U.S. since its inception.

Black Hat hand crew

The photo above shows the Black Hats on May 7, 2004 walking to the fire below, which started in a structure south of Hot Springs, South Dakota and spread into the wildland. Firefighters stopped it at the top of the ridge.

Fire South Of Hot Springs


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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.

One thought on “South Dakota fire crews clear ice storm debris”

  1. Back in the old days when there was lots of timber being cut, lots of Ranger Districts in the West had one or two 20-person “BD” crews that prepped and burned clearcuts, hand piled sensitive areas, but also planted seedlings, did pre-commercial thinning, built and maintained trails, cleaned culverts and did other labor intensive work like storm damage clean-up “as needed”. It gave us lots of flexibility that doesn’t exist under most contracts, and also allowed us to identify future fire leaders. Glad to see that SD State makes this concept still work!


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