Schenk Prescribed Fire Planned for Southern Black Hills


The Hell Canyon Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) South Dakota Field Office, two private landowners, and South Dakota Wildland Fire are planning to conduct the Schenk prescribed fire project April 23-24, 2024, weather, and conditions dependent. 

The Schenk project area is located approximately 5 miles southwest of Jewel Cave National Monument. It contains a total of 2,355 acres broken into four units. Ownership includes 168 acres of BLM administered lands, 1,457 acres of National Forest System lands, and 730 acres of private land. 

The objectives of this prescribed fire are to reduce hazardous fuels accumulations that could make wildfire suppression efforts difficult to control during the summer months. Also, to remove insect-weakened trees and minimize the risk of unwanted wildfire across the landscape. Prescribed fire is also used in meadows to rejuvenate grasses, forbs, and shrubs, to benefit grazing, while reestablishing meadow boundaries by reducing pine, and juniper encroachment. 

“Prescribed fires can mimic the benefits of wildfires by reducing fuels on the ground and lowering the risks associated with larger, uncontrolled fires,” said Todd Hoover, Hell Canyon Fire Management Officer, Black Hills National Forest. “It makes sense to work closely with our interagency partners and adjacent landowners to make the largest impact on the landscape.”

Forest visitors and hunters are asked to avoid the area during this time. Smoke from the prescribed burn will be visible throughout the day of the burn and may linger for several days. Firefighters will be on site throughout the days of ignition and will periodically patrol the burn for several days afterward. If you see smoke from this burn, please refrain from calling 911.

Prescribed fire specialists compare current and predicted environmental conditions to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. Burn plans include 21 separate elements including Goals & Objectives, Prescription (weather and fire behavior), Holding plans, and Contingency planning. A prescribed fire will not be ignited unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan.

For updates before, during, and after prescribed burning operations, you can follow the BLM on Facebook at Bureau of Land Management – Montana/Dakotas or on Twitter @BLM_MTDKs. Information on the prescribed burn will also be located on the Great Plains Fire Information blogspot at

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit

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