This fire is basically in my back yard. Various reports have estimated the size from 100-300 acres. Fire danger yesterday in the Hills was extreme. The Ponderosa pines burn readily due to several years of drought. We normally don't see this type of activity until July or August. It is adjacent to the northen edge of the Grizzly Gultch fire that caused Deadwood to be evacuated about three years ago.

Wildfire erupts in Northern Hills

By Laura Woodard, Journal Staff Writer

BOULDER CANYON -- About 100 people continued to battle a fire late Sunday in a remote area of the Northern Hills near Bald Mountain that grew to 100 acres in a matter of hours, according to the Great Plains Fire Center.

The Camp 5 Fire, on Black Hills National Forest land about 1.5 miles northwest of Galena and three miles southeast of the Old Deadwood Forest Service Office east of Deadwood, forced officials to temporarily close U.s. Highway 14A for about two hours Sunday. State Radio reported that the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office reopened the highway at 7:30 p.m.

Authorities had not evacuated any homes along Highway 14A by late Sunday night.

According to the Great Plains Fire Center, the fire was reported about 4:30 p.m. Reports indicated that the fire was spotting 100 to 200 yards, with isolated torching and some crowning.

It was warm, dry and windy Sunday as units from Black Hills National Forest, the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire Suppression and several volunteer fire departments responded to the fire. Initally, they were joined by five hand crews had been dispatched.

An airplane is scheduled to take off at 7 a.m. today to fly over the area and assess the fire.

Joe Lowe of the state Division of Wildland Fire Suppression and Terry Tompkins of the Black Hills National Forest Service are directing firefighting efforts. About 3 a.m. this morning, in anticipation of a cold front and a wind shift, firefighters planned to implement structure protection at Galena.

According to National Weather Service officials in Rapid City, Deadwood saw a high of 79 degrees Sunday. According to a weather reading in the Nemo area, winds mostly came from the southwest at 10 to 15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph.

In addition to the warm temperatures and high winds, humidity was below 10 percent.

The Black Hills can expect a cold front Monday morning with a chance of precipitation and a shift in the winds, which will come from the northwest, according to the NWS.

Contact Laura Woodard at (605) 394-8412 or


Copyright 2005 The Rapid City Journal
Rapid City, SD