The Latest: Custer park fire likely fully contained soon

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2017 4:07 PM
The Latest: Custer park fire likely fully contained soon

CUSTER, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on a wildfire at Custer State Park in South Dakota's Black Hills (all times local):

3 p.m.

A Custer State Park official says firefighters expect a western South Dakota wildfire to be fully contained by the end of crews' Monday shift.

Kobee Stalder, the park's visitor services program manager, says the fire consumed more than 84 square miles (218 square kilometers) in the park and beyond its borders. He says slightly more than half the park was burned.

Officials reported Sunday that fire was 95 percent contained.

Park officials say the two main roads in and out of the park, U.S. Highway 16A and State Highway 87 South, as well as the visitors center reopened Monday morning. Stalder says the park could be fully re-opened to visitors by Friday.

He says officials are clearing trees that have the potential of falling into roads. The fire started from a downed power line on Dec. 11.

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11:05 a.m.

Custer State Park has reopened a week after a wildfire closed the popular South Dakota tourism attraction.

Park officials say the two main roads in and out of the park, U.S. Highway 16A and State Highway 87 South, as well as the visitors center reopened Monday morning. However some hiking trails and interior roads remain closed.

Superintendent Matt Snyder asks that visitors be patient as the park evaluates the damage and repairs roads and fences.

The fire burned more than 84 square miles (218 square kilometers) since it started from a downed power line on Dec. 11. Officials say the fire is 95 percent contained.

The park just south of Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a top tourist destination.