December 14, 2017
CUSTER STATE PARK – Legion Lake Fire crews continue to make gains as mop up begins today within the fire perimeter, locating and extinguishing hot spots around structures along 16A near the State Game Lodge and near Blue Bell Lodge.
Crews mopping up will also begin work along Highway 79, Wildlife Loop Road, and northwest of Buffalo Gap. Previous burnout operations have proven effective at protecting Blue Bell Lodge and State Game Lodge, and firefighters will begin burnout operations East of Highway 87 and North of Highland Ridge Road.
Following yesterday’s retardant applications by a heavy air tanker along the south perimeter, fire activity remains North of Fusion Canyon. Firefighters will continue to hold lines west of Highway 79 and north of Fusion Canyon.
Winds are predicted to remain out of the northwest at 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour, with temperatures reaching the mid 30’s. Although light snow has helped the fire in the north, conditions remain dry within the fire perimeter.
The fire’s effects to Custer State Park wildlife are currently being evaluated. Legion Lake Fire is currently at 47,312 acres with 50 percent containment. It is now the 3rd largest wildfire in Black Hills recorded history.
The Fire Investigator’s Office has released official information attributing the fire’s cause to a fallen power line.
Due to the fire, all areas of Wind Cave NP with the exception of HWY 385 and HWY 87, Beaver Creek Rd. and associated turnouts and the immediate area around the visitor center are closed to all public entry.
All evacuation orders have been lifted. Custer State Park remains closed indefinitely as officials further evaluate public and staff safety.