Environment | National

Native Sun News: Fires burning on Rosebud Sioux Reservation

The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

A series of wildfires are burning in the Two Strike and Rosebud communities on the Rosebud Reservation in south-central South Dakota. Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux activated the Emergency Preparedness Program, evacuating the Grass Mountain, Ironwood and Norma’s Camp areas of the reservation. The designated evacuation point is the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Council Chambers in Rosebud. Preliminary findings indicate the fires were started by a lightning strike. PHOTO COURTESY/SHERE RYAN VIA FACEBOOK

Fires ravage Sicangu lands
At least four are ‘out of control’
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer

ROSEBUD –– Western South Dakota once again finds itself in drought, leading to the overabundance of wildfires, most recently and most menacingly on the Rosebud Reservation.

The Longhorn Complex, which started July 19 on the reservation, included a half-dozen fires July 21 covering a total of about 9,000 acres, or about 14 square miles. Rosebud encompasses about 1,450 square miles in south-central South Dakota.

Sparked by lightning, the series of fires is being fueled largly by both dry timber and grass.

Approximately 20 to 25 homes were initially evacuated. According to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s president, Rodney Bordeaux, the number of homes evacuated eventually climbed as high as 40.

Almost all of the evacuees were allowed home over the weekend of July 21-22.

At press time, no homes were lost to the fires on the reservation.

Bordeaux said the fires had far exceeded 100 acres, or less than a quarter of a mile. The reservation is home to fewer than 10,000 people, about 1,500 of whom live in Rosebud Village.

“We started with 18 fires, and four of them are out of control,” Bordeaux told The Associated Press. “Some of this is rough terrain in areas, so it’s hard getting in and out. Getting water to our fire trucks is going to be the main obstacle.”

A reservation report says the most threatening fires started two miles south of Rosebud Village and the worry is that the blaze will reach a more populated area.

“I think it’s going to be a long fight. There’s a lot of timber. It’s hilly. It’s kind of the foothills of the Black Hills,” said J.R. LaPlante, South Dakota’s secretary of tribal relations.

Bill Giroux, the tribe’s Emergency Preparedness Program coordinator, did not give an estimate on total acreages burned so far but said a count would be available after the fire is contained.

Anyone with questions about the fire is directed to call Rosebud Sioux Tribe Water Resources at (605) 747-2559.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

(Contact Karin Eagle at staffwriter2@nsweekly.com)

Copyright permission by Native Sun News www.nsweekly.com

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