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Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115
KEYSTONE, SD: Mount Rushmore National Memorial has begun a series of prescribed burns to reduce accumulated slash piles in support of the park’s mountain pine beetle and fire management plans. The current prescription is restrictive and intended to function with minimal or no snow cover. Natural barriers within the prescribed section ensure a clear and safe operational area. The prescription includes burning residual slash piles, removal of needle accumulation and minimal ground cover. Burning will continue depending upon favorable weather conditions. Visitors may expect to see hand crews working in the forest, burning slash piles and experience drifting smoke and haze at all hours during the burning.
Slash piles are a result of forest thinning in compliance with the mountain pine beetle plan as well as thinning of hazard and dying trees. Mount Rushmore National Memorial has successfully completed several fuel-reducing projects in the past several years in an attempt to provide a means to stop or slow the growth of any unwanted wildfire. These projects have included thinning, through prescribed fire or mechanical removal, overcrowded stands of timber near critical structures and areas within the memorial.