More than 400 homes were evacuated, Mount Rushmore was closed, and a state of emergency was declared, but firefighters made significant progress on Wednesday toward confining the flames that started in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
A state of emergency has been declared in South Dakota due to the extreme drought and continuous fires, and it will remain in effect until June 1. Governor Kristi Noem signed the proclamation on Tuesday.
As a result of the directive, the state will be able to aid municipal and volunteer fire departments more during times of crisis.
Firefighters had Contained 47% of the Largest Fire in the Nemo, South Dakota, Region.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook on Wednesday that firefighters had contained 47% of the largest fire in the Nemo, South Dakota, region. The Schroeder Road fire has scorched almost 3,400 acres.
“With gustier winds anticipated on Thursday, fire weather conditions may be critical during the day into the evening,” the National Weather Service said, referring to the “very dry air across the area,” which would lead to “elevated fire weather conditions” on Wednesday.
Some evacuated communities were reopened by law enforcement, but only to current residents. Residents were instructed to stay put and only dial 911 in cases of extreme emergency due to the ongoing fires.
The sheriff’s office reports that the fire on Schroeder Road has spread into two other Rapid City communities. Several buildings, including at least one dwelling, have been damaged. There have been no reported injuries.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial remained closed on Wednesday as a result of two smaller fires burning southwest of the city.
Officials reported that the fire was still burning in an area that was too hilly and rugged to be reached by road. Helicopters and heavy airtankers helped ground crews shield homes and bring the blaze under control.
Fire authorities said that the wind was still a factor in the fight against the blaze, albeit it was not as severe as it had been on Monday and Tuesday.
The western part of North Dakota experienced a wildfire that was driven by strong winds and drought; a firefighter was hurt when his fire vehicle crashed because of poor visibility caused by the smoke. According to experts, the injuries are not catastrophic.
Officials estimate that 1 square mile of land has been lost in the fire north of Richardton, North Dakota.
Everything around the abandoned building, including fences, electricity lines, and utility poles, was destroyed in the fire. Mark Hanson, a spokesman for Montana-Dakota Utilities, claimed that the fire destroyed or severely damaged five of the company’s buildings.
The fire’s origin was likely a downed power line.