Wind Cave National Park bounces back from wildfire

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It's been about five weeks since the prescribed burn at Wind Cave National Park was swept up by high winds and became a wildfire.

Eric Allen is the fire management officer for Wind Cave National Park and admits that although the burn didn't go as planned, he says that as far as the park's ecology is concerned, the burn is not a setback.
Aside from reducing the fuel in the area, the blaze also served as a way to manage the mountain pine beetle infestation.

Allen says, "One of the other things that's a great benefit to us as far as this prescribed fire is that we're trying to remove a lot of these smaller trees like you can see right here... remove the smaller trees and we're also trying to open up the canopy and remove a lot of the larger overstory trees, you can see some of these blackened areas behind me, that's very desirable for us."

Allen says the less dense the trees are the less food the pine beetle has.
Looking at the area now, although the fire did not go the way officials intended it, there is a silver lining in what was not too long ago a cloud of smoke.
Tom Farrell is the Chief of Interpretation for the park and says that the burn overall benefits the wildlife.

Farrell says, "Well one thing it is going to do is its going to bring the wildlife down to the southern part of the park where they might be easier to see... this lush green provides great vegetation for them so we're seeing a lot more wildlife in this area of the park than we'd typically might this time of year."

Sheriff says, "Although just a month ago, much of this area was black and charred, as you can see re-growth is in progress and has been very successful. So come on down to Wind Cave National Park and check out spring time on the prairie."