Wind Cave National Park preparing for prescribed burn

Wind Cave National Park is planning a prescribed burn of 676 acres of land surrounding the part. If conditions remain favorable the prescribed burn could occur as early as Oct. 1. 

The burn area includes dense and open forest, and the park’s headquarters and a nearby private residence. The park superintendent Vidal Davila stated, “The primary objectives of this burn are to reduce fuel loading in the ponderosa pine forest and to decrease encroachment of young ponderosa pine onto the prairie, improving the flow of water into the cave. Prescribed burns help decrease the intensities of wildfires which allows firefighters to better protect homes and structures.”

The park’s Prairie Vista Trail located behind the visitor center is expected to be closed for up to 2-weeks following the burn. Park officials are working on ways to minimize any impediments of operations to minimize the impact on visitors. 

Visitors to the area on the day of the burn may be able to see heavy smoke visible from Hwy 385 and surrounding region. Highway closures may be expected intermittently for safety. 

There will be an open house for the public to voice any concerns on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center. Park superintendent Vidal Davila states," there will be no formal presentation, staff will be available to answer questions about this project." 

More information on the burn and open house available at

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