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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
With cooler temperatures and favorable off-season conditions, October offers an opportunity for many public lands to conduct prescribed fires. Teaming up with the Black Hills Fire Use Module, Jewel Cave National Monument is hoping to conduct a 309-acre burn on the south side of Hwy 16, along the entry road to the visitor center. The prescribed area also includes forested land near the administration building, maintenance shop, park housing, and one-quarter-mile Roof Trail. The burn window for this project is scheduled to open the week of October 16th. The prescribed burn will only occur if weather and moisture conditions on the ground fall within a predetermined set of parameters.
There are two main objectives for the Hill Top Prescribed Fire. The first is to reduce the amount of dead and downed wood on the ground, recycling the nutrients back into the forest ecosystem. The second objective is to reduce exotic plants above and beyond the routine treatments conducted by Monument staff during the summer seasons.
Superintendent Bonnie Schwartz states, “This combined effort with fire crews and other agency personnel displays a concerted effort toward the objectives of a prescribed burn. Several years of planning have occurred, and we are hopeful that the upcoming weather conditions remain favorable for this hands-on management activity.”
During the prescribed burn, the Roof Trail will be closed, along with a portion of the Canyons Trail. Signage will be displayed at key locations to alert visitors of the closure. The visitor center will remain open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; however, traffic entering and departing the Monument may experience delays due to the fire activity and an increased number of staff along the roadways.
For more information, call the visitor center directly at (605) 673-8300 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For basic cave tour information, visit Jewel Cave online at www.nps.gov/jeca or follow the Monument through social media at www.facebook.com/JewelCaveNPS or www.instagram.com/jewelcavenps.