Rapid City, SD, November 14, 2016 – The Mystic Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest is planning to ignite 221 acres on the Silver Mountain project Tuesday, November 15 & Wednesday, November 16, depending on weather. Smoke will be visible for several miles and could impact Highway 16, Hill City, Rapid City and other surrounding areas. Crews have been preparing to implement the project to meet management objectives for several years.
The Silver Mountain project area is located approximately 10 miles west/southwest of Rapid City, SD between Highway 16 and Sheridan Lake Road, along Boulder Hill Road to the west.
The goal of the Silver Mountain Prescribed Fire is to maintain a mosaic of vegetation conditions created by the Battle Creek Fire of 2002. This project will lessen the severity and extent of future wildfires in the project area by breaking up the continuity of dead, downed fuels, ultimately reducing those fuel loads. Fire will also be utilized as a tool to thin pine regeneration and increase canopy base heights. Additionally, this burn will stimulate browse for big game species.
After many years of fire exclusion, an ecosystem, such as the Black Hills, needs periodic fire to remain healthy. Without it, trees are stressed by overcrowding, fire-dependent species disappear, and flammable fuels build up and become hazardous.
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