Badlands Today is the only centralized source for all the latest news, inspiration, events, photos & more from Badlands National Park in South Dakota, with official social feeds from the National Park Service & more.
Prescribed burn today in the Pinnacles area of the park. Heavy smoke is possible and reduced visibility on Hwy 240 and Sage Creek Rim Road are possible. Delays may be expected.
Until recent times, fire was a natural part of life here on the prairie. Fire is a natural occurrence and is essential for the maintenance of the ecosystem. Fire helps control weeds and other invasive species, returns nutrients to the soil, and helps remove excess fuel load to lessen the chance of a natural occurring wildfire devastating the area.
A prescribed fire is a calculated and carefully planned event. Fire managers construct a fire plan that considers elements such as wind conditions, weather, season, humidity, the amount of moisture in the dead vegetation, and the quantity and availability of fuel (natural build up of leaf litter and woody growth). As part of the plan, fire managers determine how hot the fire will burn and in what direction it will travel. Using that information, managers carefully station each member of the fire crew so that the fire site is well managed and the crew is safe. A fire plan includes precautions to prevent the fire from becoming an uncontrolled wildfire. In addition, a fire plan specifies emergency procedures to handle an uncontrolled fire, should it become necessary.
Since a prescribed fire moves at only 0.1 to 1.6 mile per hour, most animals can move out of it’s way if needed. For example, burrowing animals, who by instinct will seek refuge underground, find safety since high temperatures from a prescribed fire only penetrate one to two inches into the soil. ... See MoreSee Less