Mount Rushmore shuts down after South Dakota wildfires force evacuations

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Three “dangerous” wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota have forced the evacuations of hundreds of homes and the shutdown of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, officials said.

A blaze that started in the Nemo area, about 15 miles northwest of Rapid City, had burned as much as 1.5 square miles and was “still moving” late Monday, according to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a very active and dangerous scene, Law Enforcement requests that citizens stay out of the area, and use alternate routes,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

Several outbuildings and at least one home were destroyed, officials said.

Gov. Kristi Noem, who traveled to Rapid City to oversee the response, said the Schroeder Road fire was sparked on private property, adding that “there have been losses and that is tragic.”

Map of evacuation areas from Schroeder Road fire.
Hundreds of homes have been evacuated as the wildfire spreads.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Office

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said between 400 and 500 homes had been evacuated, according to the Rapid City Journal. No injuries have been reported.

Several outbuildings and at least one home were destroyed, officials said.
Several outbuildings and at least one home were destroyed, officials said.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Offi

About 250 firefighters were battling the fire on a windy afternoon when gusts have ranged from around 50 mph to 72 mph, the news outlet reported.

the National Weather Service in Rapid City extended a red flag warning through Tuesday for the region.
the National Weather Service in Rapid City extended a red flag warning through Tuesday for the region.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Offi

Two other fires were burning southwest of Rapid City, near Keystone, with one covering about 75 acres and the other 20 acres.

The Schroeder Road fire was reportedly sparked on private property.
The Schroeder Road fire was reportedly sparked on private property.
Pennington County Sheriff’s Offi

That has caused Mount Rushmore to close through at least Wednesday, officials said.

Schroeder Rd WildFire in South Dakota

The blaze started in the Nemo area of South Dakota.

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office

Schroeder Road fire in South Dakota

Schroeder Road fire in South Dakota

Winds of 50 mph to 72 mph are making battling the flames harder for firefighters.

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office

Aerial surveillance of the Schroeder Road fire in South Dakota

Aerial surveillance of the Schroeder Road fire in South Dakota

Law enforcement warns the fires are “very active and dangerous.”

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office

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With northwesterly winds expected to increase to 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph, the National Weather Service in Rapid City extended a red flag warning through Tuesday for the region, USA Today reported.

With Post wires

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