Photo – BIA Forestry & Wildfire Management
PINE RIDGE – Firefighters successfully contained a grass and timber fire on the Pine Ridge Reservation about 6 miles north of Pine Ridge early this evening. Over a dozen structures were threatened at one time or another, but none were damaged.
The Wilson Road Fire is listed at 1,575 acres but continues to burn inside the containment lines. The BIA says the fire was caused by fireworks, but the agency has not released the names of any suspects.
Incident commander Marjoe Janis says the fire began Tuesday evening and was only about 200 acres at mid-morning, but high temperatures that reached the mid-90s and winds gusting to 40 mph drove the blaze to 600 acres by 2:30 and to more than double that before the containment line was completed.
Janis says the steep terrain limited access at times, but a combination of SEAT, single-engine air tanker, planes and helicopters helped the roughly 100 firefighters from the BIA, Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Management, the Rosebud Agency, and the Rushville and Martin VFDs.
Since the fire is still burning inside the containment line, firefighters will remain on site overnight monitoring conditions. Janis says those crews are working within COVID-19 protocols as they assist with mop up.