47,000-Acre Wildfire Continues to Grow in South Dakota
The fourth-largest fire in the history of the Black Hills continues to burn in a South Dakota state park.
The Legion Lake Fire inside Custer State Park was estimated at 47,312 acres in size as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to fire officials. Containment increased from seven to 10 percent.
Officials say the fire started Monday. Fairburn and Buffalo Gap, which are east of the park, were threatened. Residents of 200 homes in the area have been evacuated or warned to evacuate, the Associated Press reported.
A heavy air tanker on Wednesday laid five loads of retardant over the south end of the blaze. Although the fire line appeared to hold initially, subsequent reports indicated that the fire jumped the lines of retardant and pushed south toward Fusion Canyon, on the west side of Highway 79.
Fire officials say crews will continue to hold lines west of Highway 79 and north of Fusion Canyon. Night resources planned to continue burnout operations on Highway 87 South and along Highway 16A.
Burnout operations were successful in the Blue Bell Lodge and State Game Lodge areas. Fire managers expected to finish both operations on Thursday before proceeding to mop up the area by finding and extinguishing hot spots.
Thursday is expected to bring early morning winds out of the north-northwest at 10-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph. Spotting fires remain a concern.
Despite the predicted temperature drop over the coming days, fire fuel remains extreme, officials say.