St. Francis, SD- Above average temperatures, low humidity, and gusty afternoon winds will continue today as fire crews battle the three fires in the Longhorn Complex. Incident Commander, Joe Lowe, stated at the morning briefing, “We are seeing some extreme fire behavior.” Dry thunderstorms are again expected this afternoon and evening. Giving rise to the possibility of more lightning ignited fires.
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard stopped by the St. Francis Incident Command Post and attended the morning briefing. “Do your job, work hard, and be safe”, he told fire crews. The Governor was getting a firsthand look at the fires burning in the area. Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team C, a Type II Team, assumed command of the Longhorn Complex Fire Saturday, July 21 at 6:00 p.m.
The Beads Creek Fire is estimated at 6,093 acres and The Longhorn Fire is estimated at 1,443 acres. The Iron Shell Fire is estimated at 3,500 acres for a complex total of 11,036 acres. Containment for this complex of fires is now at 25% percent. Lighting is the cause of all three fires.
Crews working the Longhorn fire will be improving fire lines, providing point and structure protection as well as patrolling the fire and continuing mop up. On the Beads Fire, crews are continuing structure protection, mop up and completing fire lines. Fire crews are providing structure protection and line construction on the Iron Shell Fire. This fire started burning Saturday afternoon and has forced the evacuation of 50 residences in the Spring Creek Community. Evacuation Centers have been opened at the St. Francis Community Center and the St. Francis Indian School Gymnasium.
Road closures have been put in effect due to heavy smoke and safety concerns for firefighters and residents in the area. The following road closures are in effect:
At the junction of BIA 1 and BIA 7
At the junction of BIA 5 and BIA 7
At the junction of BIA 3 and BIA 7
Residents should expect to see smoke for several days and are encouraged to use caution on roadways as visibility may be limited. Persons with asthma or other breathing difficulties are encouraged to stay indoors or temporarily leave the area until smoke diminishes.