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Aug. 24, 2002

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STURGIS - (copyright 2002 Yea, we'll have news and gossip:
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new Sturgis 2002 pics every day.

Mt Rushmore Road closed completely - Rockerville evacuated - Black Hills burn

The Black Hills aren't burned to a crisp, but during the Sturgis Rally next year you'll see a few changes when you roll through the mountains next year.

The Battle Creek fire took off in a rather unexpected manner and has burned more than 11,000 acres in the central Hills.

Mount Rushmore Road was closed between Rapid City and The Faces. Rockerville was evacuated. It's the same road frequented by bikers this year, and which will be a major route at the Sturgis Rally in 2003.

A city fire camp of more than 1,200 firefighters is wrapping up fighting the fire. It would have gone on longer, maybe a lot longer, but thunderstorms arrived and soaked Rapid City and the central Hills. Now there are smoking stumps.

At one point the fire jumped Mount Rushmore Road, which was no easy feat. It's more than 50 yards across the four-lane highway. The raging fire was shooting out hot embers in the wind which landed a half mile in front of the fire as it swept north.

Even so, it's not as bad as it sounds. The people on the fire that we talked to said it was a usual fire in some resepcts - mostly burning on the ground and sometimes firing up into the crowns of trees.

That makes good wildlife habitat and is a natural part of a ponderosa pine forest. The burned out patches open up to wildlife browse such as chokecherry and quaking aspens.

We'll do the Glenco Campground Rumor scoop next week. The fire was too big to postpone.

UPDATE - Mount Rushmore Road is now open - one lane to through traffic and one lane for firefighting equipment.

Coming next week:
Rumors in Glenco Campground

Late Breaking Sturgis Pics:
Aug 24, 2002
Sturgis Pics - Sturgis 2002 pics for Aug. 24


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