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Wildfire burns near Mount Rushmore week before Trump visit

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UPDATE:

CUSTER, S.D (KTIV) -- As of 1:00 p.m. Central Time, South Dakota officials have confirmed that the fire is 100% contained.


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CUSTER, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota is bringing in more resources to fight a wildfire that's burning near Mount Rushmore ahead of next week’s visit to the monument by President Donald Trump.

The fire started in Custer State Park on Wednesday at about 11:15 a.m. and has burned an estimated 150 acres about 6 miles south of the stone monument thus far.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, says South Dakota Wildland Fire Division is leading a multi-state, multi-agency effort to fight the forest fire.

There are currently over 100 firefighters on location with additional resources available should they be needed. Two helicopters and one air attack plane are being used on the fire, with additional air resources also available.

The president is planning to attend a fireworks display at the monument on July 3. But some wildfire experts have raised concerns the pyrotechnics could spark fires — especially because the region has seen dry weather this year.

Officials say temperatures for the day will start in the low 60s and climb to near 80 degrees. Skies will be mostly sunny until early afternoon, at which point cloud cover will increase. Showers and thunderstorms will move into the area after 5:00 p.m. Heavy rain is likely.

Currently, Highway 87 North is closed from the junction of 16A and Needles Highway to Playhouse road. This will remain closed to avoid road congestion and aid firefighters in accessing the fire to increase containment.

Visitors can still access the iconic Needles and Center Lake Campground from American Center Road or Iron Mountain Road. 

Custer State Park remains open, however, Grace Coolidge Walk-in Fishing Area, Center Lake beach and lake access are closed due to bucket usage for helicopters.

Associated Press

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