Wildfire burns near Mount Rushmore week before President’s visit

South Dakota News June 25, 2020

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Wildfire burns near Mount Rushmore week before President’s visit

CUSTER STATE PARK, SD – This fire is now 100 percent contained and is now no longer a threat to public or property.

Original Article: South Dakota is bringing in more resources to fight a wildfire that’s burning near Mount Rushmore ahead of next week’s visit to the monument by President Donald Trump.

The Mine Draw Fire started in Custer State Park on Wednesday, about 6 miles south of the stone monument, and has burned an estimated 60 acres . The fire is burning between Hwy 16A and Center Lake.

There are 117 firefighters on scene, with additional resources available should they be needed. There are two, Type 1 Helicopters and one air attack plane being used on the fire, with additional air resources also available.

The safety of the public and firefighters will continue to be the primary objective of this incident. Additional objectives are to minimize growth of the fire and keep the fire North of Shop Draw Road, East of Highway 87, and West of Mine Draw Road.

Temperatures for the day will start in the low 60s and climb to near 80 degrees. Skies will be mostly sunny until early afternoon, at which point cloud cover will increase. Showers and thunderstorms will move into the area after 5:00 p.m. Heavy rain is likely.

Currently, Highway 87 North is closed from the junction of 16A and Needles Highway to Playhouse road. This will remain closed to avoid road congestion and aid firefighters in accessing the fire to increase containment. Visitors can still access the iconic Needles and Center Lake Campground from American Center Road or Iron Mountain Road.

Custer State Park remains open, however, Grace Coolidge Walk-in Fishing Area, Center Lake beach and lake access are closed due to bucket usage for helicopters. Fire managers will continue to reevaluate closures and open areas as soon as it’s safe to do so. Park Managers request that visitors respect these closures for the safety of the public and firefighters.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and the blaze is estimated to be 25% contained.

President Donald Trump is planning to attend a fireworks display at the monument July 3. Wildfire experts are concerned the pyrotechnics could spark fires.

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