UPDATE: St. Francis fire on the Rosebud Reservation 80 percent contained
UPDATE: In a press release on Thursday, the Bureau of Indian Affairs reports that the St Francis fire that began on June 18 is now 80 percent contained and has affected approximately 12 square miles. With calmer winds on Wednesday, firefighters were able to stop the fire from progressing. The grass fire is mostly extinguished, and firefighters are working on the thicker ponderosa pine timber to ensure that the fire does not reignite. There are no road closures due to the fire.
According to the B.I.A. Forestry and Wildland Fire Management Rosebud Agency, as of Tuesday the St. Francis fire was mapped at 3,045 acres and is 30 percent contained. Crews continue working day and night to fully contain the fire. They are asking residents to avoid the fire area. Smoke will still be visible through the weekend.
ST. FRANCIS, S.D. – According to the Rosebud Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) a fire was reported Saturday afternoon near St. Francis, located on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal lands at 1:30 p.m. threatening several structures moving northwest and northeast with 20-30 mph winds.
As of Monday, Joelynn Ashley, Rosebud Agency B.I.A. Superintendent, reports that no structures have been affected but the fire has burned approximately 1,500-2,000 acres of grassland and timber and is currently 20 percent contained.
Responding to the fire included: the Rosebud Agency Wildfire Branch, Bear Mountain, Engine 691, Engine 661, Lightup, Spearfish, Fairburn Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Colton, Cody UFD, Centennial, Interior, Black Hills Helitak, Grand Junction Smoke Jumpers, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe VFDs, Rosebud AD’s, one large air tanker, one very large air tanker, two single-engine air tanker, and additional resources from Blackhawk, Edgemont, Valentine, Cody, and Tripp County.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is asking citizens to stay off and away from all trail roads in the vicinity of the fire. Less traffic will assist the fire resources to enter and leave safely.
The Tribe has also issued a health advisory due to the heavy smoke in and around the fire areas, those with asthma, or other breathing conditions to seek medical attention if needed.
Road visibility will be limited, please drive with lights on, slow down and be aware of fire and first responders in the area.
The B.I.A. anticipates that the fire will continue to burn through the week and advisories will remain in place as the fire resources continue to actively fight the fire through containment and mop up.