Wind Cave NP Gets In Only Half Of Planned Burn; Officials Hope To Get Conditions For A Second Try


      Wind Cave National Park was able to conduct less than half of its planned prescribed burn on Saturday, but park officials remain hopeful they’ll be able to burn the rest later this fall.

      Wind Cave Chief of Interpretation Tom Farrell says only the 308-acre Headquarters East burn was held with the 360-acre Headquarters South postponed because of time constraints. Weather and firefighting resources will determine a new date is set.

       Firefighters from the U-S Forest Service, National Park Service, and various agencies around South Dakota assisted on Saturday’s fire and Farrell says it’s often difficult to schedule all the manpower and equipment needed for a prescribed burn.

      Wind Cave Supt Leigh Welling issued a thanks to all the park’s partners who helped make the burn a success, adding that the fire will benefit the park for years. 

     Wind Cave has had an active prescribed burn plan since 1972, using controlled fire to simulate natural fires that helped create the park’s ecosystem.

     Prescribed fires now help maintain the balance between forest and prairie, remove the build-up of dead fuels to reduce the chances of a catastrophic wildfire, and rejuvenate the native prairie grasses.