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Rain helps crews squelch fire near Rapid City

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Forest Service

Early morning rain aided crews who have contained a fire in the Black Hills that started about eight miles west of Rapid City.

Despite the moisture, officials say dangerous conditions persist for wildfires this fall.

The Hat Mountain Wildfire took off on Tuesday afternoon. High winds and dry conditions spread the fire near Johnson Siding to about 35 acres. Crews were able to get a dozer line around the fire.

Scott Jacobson is a spokesperson for the Black Hills National Forest. He says the weather changed from hot and dry to cool and wet.

"Temperatures got down, wind calmed down a little bit and got some rain on it. Got a quarter inch to a half inch on it last night, so that helped tremendously," Jacobson says. "They should have it 100 percent contained by noon today, is what they're thinking. They'll just work on mop up operations throughout today and probably tomorrow."

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Jacobson says low moisture and high heat created conditions ripe for fires in the Black Hills. He says the forest has been lucky this summer in that no major wildfires have ravaged the hills.

"It really kind of depends on the weather and what we're going to see coming in the next several months. over the next couple of months," Jacobson says. "The grasses are cured out. They're dry. we get a spark and we get winds and it's dry it's going to burn."

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire that brought a federal, state and local response.