Pile burning starts near Silver City

SILVER CITY, S.D. – Forest managers are continuing to reduce hazardous fuels across the Black Hills National Forest.

Starting Oct. 9 and continuing through the week as conditions permit, Mystic Fire will be burning piles located 1.5 miles northwest of Silver City.

Smoke may be visible from Highway 385, Silver City Road and Jenny Gulch Road. Smoldering material may continue to burn days after burning operations are completed. Firefighters will monitor and check the piles for several days after they have been lit.

Piles are created from timber sale slash and tree thinning operations.

Officials appreciate the support from local communities and say that reducing fuels this time of year makes fire suppression operations safer during the summer months. The burns are also an important part of a healthy forest system.

“We determined that that area needed to be thinned, so we went out and we cut the smaller trees, up to about 7 inches in diameter, and they were piled up,” said Chris Stover, assistant fire management officer at the Black Hills National Forest’s Mystic Ranger District. “Now that they’ve dried out, we’ve got good conditions to go out and be able to burn those piles. And the reason we do that is we need to be able to reduce stand densities out there. We’ve got far too many trees on the landscape, especially small trees on the landscape, so that’s why we do these projects.”

Public safety and firefighter safety are the top priority when considering any prescribed burn operation on the landscape. Precipitation, wind, temperature, fuel moisture and staffing all play a part in when and whether ignition occurs.

For pile burning notifications, sign up at http://gpfireinfo.blogspot.com/.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

Information from the Black Hills National Forest