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PHOTOS: Black Hills wildfire forces highway closure; Evacuation center being set up in Custer

A wildfire was reported near Custer, South Dakota on the morning of Thursday, April 7. (Custer County Sheriff’s Office)

By Brendan Lachance, Oil City News

CASPER, Wyo. — A wildfire reported at around 7:11 a.m. Thursday, April 7 in the Black Hills area about five miles west-northwest of Custer has led to the closure of Highway 16 from Custer to Pleasant Valley Road, according to Custer County South Dakota Emergency Management.

An evacuation center is being set up in the gym of an old armory that is located at 527 Montgomery St. in Custer.

“The Red Cross will be there to set up and help,” Custer County Emergency Management said at around 9:15 a.m. Thursday. “We are estimating they will be there within the next two hours.”

Multiple agencies are responding to the fire and are working to help get people out of the path of the fire, Custer County Emergency Management added.

The fire is reportedly about 50 acres in size, according to Great Plains Fire Information, and is being called the Wabash Springs Fire. The cause is unknown.

“Please do not drive out to see the smoke or fire as additional traffic on Hwy 16 is unsafe for responders,” Great Plains Fire Information says.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office said at around 10 a.m. Thursday that it has issued pre-evacuation notices in the following areas:

  • Pinto Lane
  • Palamino Place
  • Big Pine Road area
  • Dakota Pine Road
  • Stagg Road & Highway 16 area
  • Beaver Lake Subdivision
  • Thompson trailer court
  • Millpond Estates area
  • Ridgeview road area

“If you live in this area please be on alert for any changing fire conditions,” Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley said in a message posted to the agency’s Facebook page. “If you plan to evacuate you can go to the Custer Armory. Highway 16 is still closed.”

Great Plains Fire Information added the following information:

For evacuation information, please call the Custer County Dispatch at 605-673-8176.

Custer County Sheriff’s Department has closed Hwy 16 from Custer to Pleasant Valley Road. Follow here for more information: https://www.facebook.com/custercountysd.

Custer County Emergency Management is setting up an evacuation center in the gym of the old Custer Armory. Click here for more information: https://www.facebook.com/CusterCountySDEM.