November 29, 2017
Rapid City, South Dakota – The Mystic Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest is planning to continue ignition on the Silver Mountain project Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1, depending on weather.
One hundred and 8 acres were successfully ignited Oct. 31, 2017. Fire managers plan to burn an additional 389 acres Thursday through Friday.
The project area is located near Rockerville, South Dakota, west of Boulder Hill and east of Beretta Road. Ignition will begin late morning and last throughout the day. A night shift will patrol following ignitions. Due to the high volume of traffic on Beretta Road, it will be temporarily closed on Thursday and Friday for public safety and safety of the firefighters.
Smoke will be visible for several miles and could impact Highway 16, Hill City, Rapid City and other surrounding areas.
For every prescribed burn, specialists write burn plans. Burn plans identify, or prescribe, the best conditions under which trees and other plants will burn to get the best results safely. Burn plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke.
Implementation is also supported by a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document. Specialists such as: hydrologists, archaeologists, wildlife biologists, among others, are involved with this process that requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.
With all of the planning that goes into a prescribed fire project, managers will not ignite a project unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan. “We spend years planning,” said Wayne Yanders, Black Hills National Forest firefighter. “If we are out of prescription, we will cancel the burn and wait for a better day.”
The right fire, at the right place, at the right time can reduce hazardous fuels, protect communities from extreme fires; minimize the spread of pest insects; remove unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem; provide forage for game; improve habitat for species; recycle nutrients back to the soil; and promote the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants.
As conditions permit, fire officials will continue to assess ignition of other prescribed burn units across the Black Hills National Forest.