An investigation by South Dakota Wildland Fire and the Pennington County Sheriff’s office concludes the Schroeder Fire just west of Rapid City late last month was likely caused by an escaped debris fire. Criminal charges aren’t being filed at this time.
A wildland fire cause-and-origin investigator and the sheriff’s office conducted interviews with the residents of the property where the fire began, other witnesses, and individuals with potential knowledge of the fire.
Their report eliminated lightning, cigarette smoking, glass refraction/reflection, and arson as potential causes of the fire, which began March 29th along Schroeder Road on property where the owner had a valid burn permit.
The Schroeder Fire eventually burned more than 2,200 acres, forced the evacuation of over 400 people, and destroyed at least 1 home and several outbuildings.