Wind Cave Prescribed Fire Continuing On Day Two


     Wind Cave National Park is continuing a 1,038-acre prescribed fire today by the Elk Mountain Campground and the Visitors Center area.

      Wind Cave Chief of Interpretation Tom Farrell says the Headquarters Burn went smoothly on Sunday, but that misty and humid conditions at times meant fewer acres burned than expected, leaving more for today.

    Farrell also said that the areas that were closed yesterday for safety reasons are  reopening today, and he reminds everyone that the burn area may continue to smoke until the next heavy rain.

     Wind Cave has had a prescribed fire program since 1972 that simulates the natural fires that occurred in the area before the National Park Service began practicing total suppression of natural fires.

        Farrell says the burn area has dense and open ponderosa pine forests with a grass understory in a wildland-urban interface area with structures in the park’s headquarters area and a nearby private residence.

Farrell says water isn’t a big part of Wind Cave, but the park would like to keep conditions as close to the original as possible, which means getting rid of trees on the surface.

Prescribed fires are conducted only if factors such as temperature, humidity, wind, and fuel moisture fall within a certain range. If they don’t, the burn is postponed – and that happened to the Headquarters Prescribed Burn multiple times before yesterday.