South Dakota: Cascade Fire

(UPDATED at 2:42 p.m. MDT, September 27, 2013)

Firefighters on the Cascade Fire 3 miles south of Hot Springs, South Dakota said it has burned 45 to 50 79.5 acres and they are calling it 80 percent contained. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter will be assigned to the fire today along with two hand crews, a dozer, and an assortment of engines from federal, state, and volunteer agencies. A Single Engine Air Tanker is also available if needed.

Scroll down to see a slide show of photos from the fire.


(Originally posted at 2:43 p.m. MDT, September 18, 2013; updated at 8:17 p.m. MDT)

The Cascade Fire, 3 miles south of Hot Springs, South Dakota, was reported at about 2 p.m. MDT on Wednesday. By 2:30 it had blackened at least 5 acres and burned over the top of the Seven Sisters ridge. A couple of hours later the size was estimated at 15 to 20 acres and was being fought by state, federal, and local fire departments. At 8 p.m. the incident commander called it 40 percent contained.

The fire appeared to be burning on private land, but that was not confirmed.

A single engine air tanker (SEAT), Tanker 463 from Valentine, Nebraska, made its first drop over the fire at 3:56 p.m. At around 4:15 p.m. the Incident Commander inquired into the availability of a large air tanker. About 20 minutes later the dispatcher told him the closest one was in Idaho. Later I checked a map and that would have been 400 to 650 miles away.

After 5:00 p.m. a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter with a bucket was on scene. A second SEAT also dropped on the fire according to a spokesperson for the fire. The SEATs were from South Dakota and Valentine, Nebraska. They reloaded and refueled at the Hot Springs, SD airport, about five miles east of the fire.

All of these photos were taken by Bill Gabbert, except for the one of the SEAT refueling, which was supplied by South Dakota Wildland Fire.