Slim Buttes Residents Say Wildfire Is Out In Their Area


Photo by Nathan Blindman

    There’s been no official update on the Casino Fire, burning on the Pine Ridge Reservation 7-½ miles southeast of Oglala since Tuesday afternoon, but residents of the Slim Buttes area say it’s out in at least that area.

      The Casino Fire was listed last night at 7:30 as more than 7,000 acres and just 40% contained after having reached the east side of the Slim Buttes – considered sacred by the Oglala Lakota.

      Noted Native American artist Nathan Blindman is part of the Slim Buttes Community and says he and the other residents revere the Slim Buttes as have others who were told through the generations of the sacredness of the area.

     Blindman says it was “otherworldly” as the fire advanced up to the east bluffs as he and others “watched in awe and concern as the plumes of black smoke arose signifying trees burning.”

     Blindman says watching the aerial tankers, as many as 5 small single-engine planes and large multi-engine ones at times, circle the burn area – to make drops gave it all “the aura of vision.”

Photo by Nathan Blindman

     Oglala Sioux President Kevin Killer says local groups from the tribe, such as the Emergency Management Department, focused on protecting structures while the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management focused on the wildfire.

      Other local, state, and federal resources also engaged the Casino fire, so named because it began near the Prairie Wind Casino between Oelrichs and Oglala.

      Meanwhile, a fast-moving grassfire about 12-miles northeast of Rapid City and 7-miles northeast of Ellsworth Air Force Base burned more than 800-acres in just 2 hours yesterday as high winds helped it spread quickly.

      The Elk Creek CA Fire was reported about 1:30 and listed as 60% contained by late afternoon with local and federal units involved. 

      Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey says structures were threatened early, but none were damaged. The cause remains under investigation.