- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

SILVER CITY, S.D. (AP) - Officials in Pennington County and the Black Hills National forest have entered a new agreement that will speed up the clearing of county roads in the event of a fire evacuation.

Under the mutual aid agreement, federal and county departments will combine forces to reduce the biomass on both sides of Edelweiss Mountain Road near the Pactola Reservoir.

“Anything that we can do to enhance safety for the public, as well as the firefighters, you know, it is really paramount,” said Chris Stover, an assistant fire management officer for fuels with the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest. “If we can reduce the surface fuels or modify the surface fuel loads that we have out here as well as all the pine regeneration that we have going on along this road and in the general area, this is going to be a benefit for everyone.”

NewsCenter1 (https://bit.ly/2qohRm7 ) reports that the landscape fire management strategy is expected to give emergency responders better access to the area when fighting wildfires, and increase safety for motorists traveling in the area.

“It opens up the tree canopy,” said Scott Guffey, the natural resources director for Pennington County. “We are going to get more sunlight on the road surface, more snow melt, ice melt. Hopefully less county maintenance in the winter time - money savings there.”

The plan calls for additional biomass reductions on 10 county roads over the next 10 years. When completed, over 3,059 acres will be landscaped in the Black Hills area.


Information from: KNBN-TV, https://www.newscenter1.com

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