Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wind Cave area residents: chill



Update, 1015 MDT, Bill Gabbert on John Thune: "A rational person would wait until an investigation or review sheds more light on what actually caused the prescribed fire to go out of control."

It's National Park Week.

Further discussion of the Cold Brook Fire's contribution to habitat restoration can be found at Dakota Free Press.

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Update, 17 April, 0740 MDT:

Fire managers expect full containment of the Cold Brook Fire by noon today.

500 acres of cheatgrass is burning north of Wall: not even close to enough fire for the confluence of the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche Rivers.

Elemental carbon produced by wildland fire sequestered in aquifer recharges filters contaminants from essential water supplies: a practice long-forgotten by profit-driven livestock producers sucking the federal tit.

Corridors leased from landowners could connect public grounds like the Comanche, the Pawnee, the Oglala, the Buffalo Gap, the Thunder Basin and Ft. Pierre National Grasslands with tribal lands and national forests in the upper Missouri River basin to heal some of the destruction caused by the Anthropocene.

Bison, not cattle, will save the High Plains from the European descendants who have decimated the West in the last two hundred years.

The discussion among those of us driving the rewilding of the basin wonders whether the ecosystems should look like they did before the Clovis People began altering them 12,000 years ago or before humans even got to the continent.



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Update, 16 April, 0350 MDT: unplanned wildfire "not all bad;" and, a crystal ball would have seen dust devil in advance.

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Update, 1830 MDT, at 80% containment:
Authorities say the Cold Brook Fire has scorched 6,500 acres in the southwestern South Dakota park. That's about 20 percent of the park's surface area. [Associated Press]
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The area of the planned Cold Brook Fire inside Wind Cave National Park hadn't burned since at least its founding in 1903.
The prescribed burn began Monday morning after an 8:48 a.m. test burn. The park’s superintendent, Vidal Davila, who was not made available for an interview Tuesday, then made the decision to continue with the full burn. Hours prior to the test burn Monday, the National Weather Service had issued a fire-weather watch for the following day, Tuesday. But at the time of the test burn Monday morning, the forecast for the rest of Monday was good: a high temperature in the 50s, with 6 mph winds. [Rapid City Journal]
Despite some strong gusty winds the fire is 30% contained and consuming invasive cheatgrass at rates the previous human inhabitants of the Black Hills would have yawned.

600 years ago 20 million bison migrating north would be cropping those grasses ahead of Spring thunderstorms while people following them gathered dry dung to fuel campfires.

The Rocky Mountain Type II Interagency Incident Management Team ordered will ensure that structures are protected; and, the event will give way to greening conditions after light rain forecast for this weekend.

As the Black Hills fire risk increases, good on the US Park Service for bringing attention to a century of destructive fire suppression.

Now burn some more.

More information and photos of this incident are posted at Wildfire Today.

ip photo.

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