|Sharing resources creates additional challenge for fire crews at Sheridan Lake|
|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:02|
A chopper straight from California takes off in the South Dakota sky. Smoke making the steel bird barely visible as it tries to quench a fire burning near Sheridan Lake. Crews are making progress, although they're in limited numbers. Dave Slepnikoff with the US Forest Service says, "A lot of our firefighters have been sent down to Colorado for those fires. So what we've had to do here is bring on some additional firefighters that are not normally firefighters, they do that as part-time, but they are Forest Service employees."
Using spare hands from the Forest Service, and even Department of Corrections inmates. Crews on scene are facing limited resources, steep terrain, and a week of brutally hot weather. Slepnikoff says, "It was 103 degrees. So whenever you have that kind of temperature and low humidity's and wind, all three factors are against the firefighters." One benefit with the wind is it has shifted the fire away from Spring Creek, an area with about a dozen homes put on voluntary evacuation notice. Fire crews say as of now, no structures are threatened but they continue to monitor the situation.
The biggest challenge, still being securing crews and equipment. Slepnikoff says, "It's strained up here because we have committed lots of resources to Colorado and now we're hearing there's fires in Wyoming, there's fires in Montana, there's fires in Washington State. So whenever you get those bigger fires, then that's when they start pulling people from the areas that don't have the big fires." Fortunately firefighters say they have a good handle on the fire lines and if the weather cooperates, they should have complete containment within the next few days.
As a reminder, Sheridan Lake Road has been shut down from Highway 385 to the Spring Creek picnic ground. The lake has been closed to all boating traffic, and several trails have been closed as well.