Estimated cost for prescribed fire at Mount Rushmore fireworks site was $30,000

The President said he would attend the event July 3 event

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Prescribed fire at Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Visitors can almost see the sculpture at Mount Rushmore during the prescribed fire April 29, 2020. Photo by Paul Horsted.

President Trump said in an interview Friday that he intends to travel to South Dakota to see the fireworks as they explode over the Mount Rushmore sculpture July 3.

The 260-acre prescribed fire completed at the Memorial April 29 was planned at least in part to reduce the chances of fireworks igniting what would be the 21st wildfire started by the devices during Independence Day ceremonies over an 11-year span.

Below is an excerpt from an article at the New York Post:

Trump confirmed the visit during a radio interview Friday with conservative pundit and news aggregator Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent.

“I got fireworks. For 20 years or something it hasn’t been allowed for environmental reasons, you believe that one? It’s all stone,” Trump said. “I got it approved, so I’m going to go there on July 3 and they’re gonna have the big fireworks.”

On at least two occasions, May 7, 2019 and December 18, 2019, President Trump said fireworks were going to be shot over Mount Rushmore long before the Environmental Assessment process was finished.

The exact price tag for last week’s prescribed fire has not been tabulated, but Maureen McGee-Ballinger, the Memorial’s Chief of Interpretation and Education, told us the estimated expenditure was $30,000. It was conducted by a total of 54 personnel, including 24 firefighters from the National Park Service, 8 from the State of South Dakota, 6 from the State of North Dakota, 8 from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 4 from the Department of Defense and 2 local volunteer fire department engines.

This was the first broadcast burn ever conducted at the Memorial. One of the objectives in the Incident Action Plan for the project was to “reduce the likelihood of unwanted ignitions in this area.”

Mount Rushmore prescribed fire April 30 2020
Mount Rushmore prescribed fire April 29, 2020. Photo by Matt Danilchick.
Prescribed fire at Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Prescribed fire at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, April 29, 2020. Photo by Paul Horsted.

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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.

12 thoughts on “Estimated cost for prescribed fire at Mount Rushmore fireworks site was $30,000”

  1. Will this event even happen and at what attendance level to justify the cost?

  2. Yeah, couldn’t have been spent better…like maybe ventilators, PPE, food. shelter, etc. Wonder how many animals were killed/displaced? $30k+ for the prez to brag about how he was right, “there were no fires”. Well worth it.

  3. $30,000 estimate comes out to about $115.38/acre, which is consistent with many other treatments that take place in the Western U.S.. Considering that this is the first broadcast burn to take place in park history, I would say this was an extremely cost effective treatment that will have positive ecological benefit (assuming objectives were met) for years to come. With that being said, it’s a damn shame that much of the gained ecological benefit will be offset by the fire works show and I think the president’s comments on the radio show were awful.

  4. This is a great event on the 4th. Environmental activists should not be allowed to shut these patriotic showcases down in the first place. God bless all patriotic Americans!

  5. Yeah, this is almost as patriotic as ordering West Point grads back to get their commissions from Cadet Bonespurs.

  6. Yep, because litter, toxic pollution, potential wildfire, noise and light pollution impacts on wildlife all scream, “I love this country enough to crap all over it! ‘Murica!”

  7. “It’s all stone,…”
    That’s our “…very stable genius…” for ya.

  8. Not to mention …if he were to look out his window at the White House he would witness the biggest fireworks display in the country, oh I forgot, he’s been in FL, on our hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    I hope it pours from the heavens.

  9. A nation’s gratitude to the state and local first responders that provided this vital service to our President’s team in this pandemic moment. It is wonderful to known that these sacred national resources and your lives are under such keen and thoughtful stewardship. The prescribed fire certainly demonstrated how well rocks will burn.

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