- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

CUSTER, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s Wildland Fire Suppression Division is planning to clear tree overgrowth at Big Rock Park on Pageant Hill to help prevent forest fires.

The work reducing the overgrowth of trees and prolific Ponderosa pine regeneration is expected to begin in early February and continue into the spring. Officials say the trees act as a ladder for fire to get into the upper levels of the trees, increasing the intensity of the fire and making it more difficult to suppress.

Custer Mayor Jared Carson says Big Rock Park is an important recreation site, and the city is excited to work with the state to reduce the fire hazard and improve forest health.

The work will target deformed, diseased, storm damaged and broken-topped pine trees and encouraging deciduous tree growth.

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