Custer, SD, October 24, 2016 – The Hell Canyon Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest is planning to ignite 1,500 acres on the Anti-Horse prescribed fire project Tuesday, October 25 – Wednesday, October 26, depending on weather. Smoke will be visible for several miles and could impact Highway 16 west of Custer, SD. Crews have been preparing to implement the project to meet management objectives for several years.
The Anti-Horse project area, located approximately 18 miles west of Custer, SD or 2 miles northwest of Jewel Cave National Monument, focuses on treating Forest Service land to reduce hazardous fuels.
Prescribed fire is an important tool in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire across the landscape. It allows fire managers to reintroduce fire, using lower fire intensities, to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations on the forest floor.
Hazardous fuels reduction will help to protect nearby private property and homes, and to aid fire suppression, tactics and strategies in the event of an unplanned wildland fire.
Prescribed fire also encourages new growth in forage for wildlife and cattle, maintains many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire, minimizes the spread of pest insects; removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem and recycles nutrients back to the soil.
Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. A prescribed burn will not be ignited unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan.
Forest visitors, including hunters, are asked to be aware of their surroundings and watch for prescribed burning operations in the months ahead. Areas where burning operations are taking place will be signed to notify visitors. The public is also encouraged to contact a nearby Forest Service office with questions.
As conditions permit, fire officials will continue to assess ignition of other prescribed burn units across the Black Hills National Forest.
For more information on Black Hills National Forest prescribed fire, visithttp://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/blackhills/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=STELPRDB5112694