Fire Crews Near Rapid Turn Focus To Cleghorn Canyon, 50 Percent Contained

Mar 30, 2021

 

The Schroeder Fire near Rapid City has grown slightly, but officials say some residents could return to their homes starting tomorrow. 

The fire is around 50 percent contained. 

Officials estimate the Schroeder Fire has now reached 2100 acres. The fire began Monday morning on private property. Officials know where the fire started but are still investigating the cause. Closures and evacuations remain in effect as officials reevaluate areas that have been burned.

Rob Powell is the incident commander for the Schroeder Fire. He says they have containment near the Westberry Trails subdivision and Pinedale Heights—which is part of the western border of the city. 

Powell says crews still have some work do before allowing folks to return home. He also says crews will also turn their focus to protecting structures in Cleghorn Canyon. 

“There’s still fire backing down into the canyon. We’re feeling good with security on the rest of the portions on the fire. We still have hazards out there that we need to mitigate before we allow people to go back in. Make sure Black Hills Power and Light, they’re replacing some downed power lines and whatnot. Just buttoning up around some of the homes that have been burned around too, that’s a real important deal for us.” 

The fire is aided by wind, drought and low humidity. Winds are expected to die down and temperatures should drop. That will give crews a chance to further contain the fire. 

There are fires popping up across western South Dakota and the Black Hills this spring.  

That concerns Governor Kristi Noem. 

“It is really early to be doing this,” Noem says. “We’re probably one of the first in the nation this year, for 2021, facing this kind of situation. Nationwide, some of the resources that would normally be available to us during firefighting season weren’t set up yet, because it is so early in the year. I think our response has been outstanding, given the situation.” 

The state is in drought conditions that climate officials say could expand without more rain or snow. Meteorologists expect South Dakota to see above average temperatures until June. 

Mt. Rushmore remains closed as a wildfire there has reached 117 acres and is about 30 percent contained.