• Badlands formations against the blue sky; photo by Rikk Flohr

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Visitor Center Open / Road Construction

    Park roads and parking lots are under construction. Expect occasional 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road. There is limited parking at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Please follow the signs to park in designate areas.

Picture Perfect Prescribed Burn Completed

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Date: April 24, 2012
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5242
Contact: Brian Kenner, 605-433-5260

Professional fire crews from Badlands National Park and the Northern Great Plains Fire Office successfully completed the park's first prescribed fire of the spring: a 560-acre burn on Tuesday, April 24. The burn location was west of the Pinnacles Entrance, between the Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) and the Sage Creek Rim Road. Fire is native to the prairie ecosystem, and part of a healthy landscape.The goal of the burn was to restore Grassland habitat by reducing accumulated vegetation and non-native grass species.

Factors such as humidity, fuel moisture, forecasted weather, and especially wind speed and direction, were carefully evaluated before ignition.Pennington County fire officials were consulted. Conditions were within the prescription, and weather forecasting and fire models confirmed a favorable burn could take place.Following a required test burn 9:30 AM to confirm conditions, ignition proceeded and the fire was conducted safely as planned, ending by 1:00PM.Fire resources from Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, Devil's Tower and Jewel Cave National Monuments, and Buffalo Gap National Grassland in Wall, included six Type 6 wildland fire engines, two wildland fire modules, a 6,000 gallon water tender, and four utility vehicles with water tanks.Preparation for the burn included mowing along the fire unit boundary.A low steady wind and stable atmosphere produced a textbook burn.

Did You Know?

Painting of a mosasaur

During the Age of Dinosaurs, a warm, shallow sea covered the Great Plains, including what is now Badlands. Since dinosaurs were land creatures, no fossils of these animals have been found in the park. Giant marine lizards called mosasaurs swam in the ancient sea, along with sea turtles and fish.