The Lost Cabin Fire southwest of Mount Rushmore in the Black Elk Wilderness Area of the Black Hills National Forest was listed at 5:30 pm Friday as 50% contained but still at 5-acres.
The fire was reported about 9:00 Thursday night in heavy dead and down timber. U-S Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Scott Jacobson says about half the fire area is bedrock, so the threat of spread is limited.
Jacobson says the terrain and the wilderness designation mean that firefighting efforts are limited to handcrews and water drops from helicopters. About 20 firefighters have hiked in carrying about 40-pounds of gear each.
Two choppers from the South Dakota Army National Guard were to be joined by a type-3 helicopter from Colorado. The lakes closest to the fire are frozen over, so they are having to fly several additional miles to Sheridan Lake to fill their buckets.
While the firefighting effort continues, investigators are still trying to determine the cause. Forest Service officials say there’s been no recent lightning in the area, so they suspect a human cause.
Trail #2 in the Black Elk Wilderness is closed and officials are asking that for the safety of the public and firefighters, all unauthorized individuals stay away from the area until it’s deemed safe to return