Small grass fire causes Hwy. 16 lane closure

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Fire Department (RCFD) made quick work of a grass fire on the south side of Rapid City Wednesday afternoon.

Three Rapid City firefighters mop up the site of a small grass fire Wednesday afternoon. The fire did not threaten any structures, but did cause one lane of Hwy. 16 westbound to be closed for a short time. Photo Date: Jan. 9, 2019.

Rapid City firefighters mop up the grass fire Wednesday afternoon.

Three units from the RCFD were dispatched to Highway 16 west of Echo Ridge Drive shortly after 1 p.m. They received reports of smoke coming from near the Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Mount Rushmore Road.

On arrival, they found three grass fires to the north of the highway totaling less than one-fifth of an acre.

The fire crews extinguished the fire and mopped-up the scene in about 45 minutes.

Thanks to quick work by the firefighters as well as snow on the north side of the hill, the fire did not threaten any structures. The right lane of Highway 16 westbound was briefly closed, however, as firefighters battled the fire.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but fire officials speculate that it was likely caused by hot materials from a passing vehicle.

With dry weather in the forecast, RCFD Battalion Chief Shawn Barrows wants to remind residents that even in winter, wildfire is still a hazard.

“Don’t take the fact that it’s wintertime with snow on the ground for granted,” Barrows said. “This time last year we had just gotten through fighting both the Legion Lake and the Bear Butte fires. Anything can happen year-round when the weather conditions have been the way they have been in the last couple weeks.”

Fire crews were assisted by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Categories: Local News