Pretty Flower Fire Evacuations Lifted; Officials Report No Structures Lost

Feb 21, 2017

A view from resident Sandy Shaughnessy's deck while evacuating from home during the Pretty Flower Fire.
Credit Sandy Shaughnessy

UPDATE: Officials say the Pretty Flower Fire is around 10 percent contained but they expect that number to increase as the evening wears on.

All evacuation orders and road closures put in place after the wild land fire sprang up between the towns of Hermosa and Keystone are lifted. No structures are reported lost.

The public information officer for the Pretty Flower Fire, Lt Jim Bussell, says the incident is a case where receptive fuels, like dead and dry grass, burned readily. He says the fire was made worse by high winds.

 “The fire was human caused and as a result of a slash pile that burned several weeks ago, but those slash piles, they burn down and they remain hot for a significant period of time even though there is acceptable snow cover on the ground at the time those piles are burnt, when that snow cover is gone, if you have those receptive fuels nearby, those slash piles, they can escape quickly,” says Bussell.

Bussell says the Pretty Flower fire is a lesson to all landowners that slash piles need to be checked regularly.
Officials say residents in the Southern Hills could see smoke and flames for the next couple of days. They ask only local traffic be allowed on all roads leading to the fire.

Below is previous coverage of this news story.

Officials say a fast moving wild land fire between the towns of Hermosa and Keystone is causing the evacuation of up to 30 homes in the area.

Around 75 firefighters from Custer and Pennington Counties are tackling the approximately 40 acre fire
LT. Jim Bussell is the Public Information Officer with the Rapid City Fire Department. He says high winds, zero snow cover and dead grass are contributing to the fire…

“Working on getting the fire out right now. We’re at about 10 percent containment. Obviously we’re not being helped by wind gusts. We’ve got gusts in the area 30, approaching 40 miles an hour at times. And then we have some very dry receptive fuels that are fueling the fire.”

Bussell says the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Officials request that traffic along Highway 40 between Hermosa and Keystone be limited to emergency response vehicles.

An evacuee reception center is located at the Keystone Community Center.