SOUTH DAKOTA — Fire crews are battling a wildfire that was caused by lighting Monday afternoon in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
The Rankin Fire has burnt an estimated 300 acres and is located in the northern part of the park near the Highland Creek Trailhead. It is currently zero percent contained.
The fire was reported just before 2 p.m. Monday and is burning toward the south, in steep, rocky terrain fueled by grass and timber.
A Type III incident management team is overseeing the work of approximately 85 firefighters and and aerial attack.
Crews worked throughout the night burning out the southern portion of the fire according to Great Plains Fire Dispatch but now the incident commander is concerned about the current south winds and crews are working now to secure the northern portions or the fire.
“September and October are historically when we have the biggest fires in the park,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila in a press release. “We encourage everyone to be extra cautious with their outdoor activities due to the hot and dry conditions we are experiencing.”
Currently the only closures are the northern segment of NPS 5 and all backcountry hiking trails north of Wind Cave Canyon.
The park visitor center remains open with cave tours leaving from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the day.