Bitter Creek Fire south of Hot Springs, SD

Originally published at 2:38 p.m. MT, September 1, 2015  A fire started Monday afternoon south of Hot Springs, South Dakota off Highway 71 southeast of the intersection of Maitland and Ash Creek Roads. As of 2:30 p.m. MT firefighters have a handle on approximately one half of the perimeter.

(UPDATED at 3 p.m. MT, September 1, 2015)

The photo below, from a different angle, was shot at about 3 PM.   We will update this later with more photos and information.

(UPDATED at 7:25 p.m. MT, September 1, 2015)

The firefighters from Cascade, Hot Springs, and South Dakota State stopped the spread at about 87 acres and named it the Bitter Creek Fire. A load of retardant from a Dromader Single Engine Air Tanker based in Hot Springs enabled the firefighters on the ground to tie in the last piece of open fireline. Tanker 455 put one 550-gallon load on the fire, split into two drops.

The initial text in this article and the first two photos were published from my iPhone at the fire scene. After returning from the fire, the photos below (from two real cameras) were uploaded.

A couple of hours after he dropped retardant on the fire, we caught up with the pilot, Jim Fournier, and interviewed him on video — you can see it at Fire Aviation.

All photos are by Bill Gabbert.

Overview of the Bitter Creek Fire.
Bitter Creek Fire
The right flank of the Bitter Creek Fire.
Bitter Creek Fire
Tanker 455 orbits, sizing up the fire.
Tanker 455
Tanker 455 descending to make a drop.
Tanker 455
Tanker 455 completing a drop.
Bitter Creek Fire
A rural South Dakota version of a Type 1 Water Tender.

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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 “Bitter Creek Fire south of Hot Springs, SD”

  1. my first reaction to the rural water tender made me laugh outloud,but its damned clever.

    i have to admit,even when i was a ground pounder in the 80s,i had “day dreams” (it happens when you are not happy in your life job,which for me was being a plumber,,hated it)of owning a water tender company,after a large fire in Nevada County Calif in 1988 or ’89,i had seen a group of trucks parked up at the Auburn “Gold Country Fairgrounds” (placer county),all were tankers,all were painted over all white,with red trim.there were 4 three axle trucks with tank bodies,and what appeared to be a 30 foot tank trailer with a three axle tractor pulling it,seemed to me that the semitrailer rig was to shuttle water from the source to the fire and the tenders.seemed like a great idea to me,but my system would have 5 or 6 truck trailer combos,with each rig dropping its trailer for a static or fixed engine reload station,while the truck would shuttle water from the source to the trailer to keep it full.BUT id use world war two vintage rigs to do


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