Photo series — mitigating fuels from tornado damage, Black Hills National Forest

Prescribed fire

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Spearfish Canyon tornado fuels piles burning fire
1. Downed trees and debris after tornado.

Yesterday the Black Hills National Forest began the final phase of mitigating the downed trees, the fuels, left after a tornado passed through Spearfish Canyon along highway 14A between Cheyenne Crossing and Savoy southwest of Deadwood, South Dakota. There are about 200 piles (from Moskee Road to Sand Creek to Williams Gulch) that crews are planning to burn over the next few days.

The first photo shows the area after the tornado. The second shows piles of debris created so they could be burned later. In the third, one of the piles is surrounded by snow, and finally, they are being burned.

Igniting the fuels while there is snow on the ground greatly reduces the chances of escaping and igniting a wildfire.

Photo credit: US Forest Service / Josh Hoffmann.

Spearfish Canyon tornado fuels piles burning fire
2. Piles constructed to burn later.
Spearfish Canyon tornado fuels piles burning fire
3. Pile surrounded by snow.
Spearfish Canyon tornado fuels piles burning fire
4. Burning of piles began January 25, 2022.

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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.

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