Firefighters Contain 40% of S. Dakota Wildfire

OGLALA, S.D. (AP) — A wildfire that started earlier this week west of Oglala has burned about 11 square miles and is 40% contained, according to officials.

The fire began near Prairie Wind Casino on Tuesday evening and moved southeast.

Oglala Sioux president Kevin Killer says local groups from the tribe, such as the Emergency Management Department, focused on structural protection while the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Wildland Fire Management focused on putting out the fire.

Two air tankers were dispatched to the area.

State fire meteorologist Darren Clabo said weather conditions, including 40 mph winds, high temperatures and low humidity, most likely contributed to the fire, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.

“Those are classic critical fire weather conditions when we have conditions like that,” he said.

There’s no word on what may have ignited the fire.

Six homes in the path of the fire were evacuated for a short time after the fire began. And, community shelters were temporarily opened for people displaced by the fire. No structural damage has been reported.

Clabo warned about the importance of being fire-aware, especially during hot, dry parts of the summer.

“I think folks have been lulled a little bit with the precipitation that we’ve gotten this spring, and then this intense heat that we’ve seen over the last two weeks has really allowed the fuels to cure and be receptive to fire,” he said.