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July 05, 2012 06:00 PM

De-Mobilization Begins At White Draw Fire

Fire Crews in the Black Hills are making more progress on the White Draw Fire near Edgemont.

With the 8,900 acre fire now 80 percent contained, crews are starting to be de-mobilized.  But for many, that doesn't mean their work is finished.

With so many wildfires still raging in the west, some crews will leave the White Draw Fire to go to other places where they're needed.

After nearly a week of work, crews are close to containing the White Draw Fire.

"It's impossible to say what's going to happen in the future, but we're pleased with how things have progressed in this incident and we'll see what happens," fire information officer Sheila French said.

"They'll continue to mop up around the edges out there because there's a lot of fire line to look at and patrol," public information officer Pat Cross said.

That means some of the 436 firefighters assigned to White Draw are starting to be released.

"We are in the process of getting people demobilized, and of course, part of our objectives today is to make them available to help local units through initial attack activities should they be needed," French said.

Although the demobilization process has begun that doesn't mean that all the crews are going to be getting a break.  With all of the fires going on out west, they might get rerouted.

"In a time like this, we're more likely to give up a crew or an engine that has more time on it so that it can be transferred to another fire and have more time on it," Cross said.

After 14 days on assignment, crews must have at least two days of rest before being sent out again.  With the fire season off to such a strong start, it's a cycle some are getting used to.

"Some of the crews that have been out already this year have 500 hours of overtime already. That's a good year for me. That's a great year for me, 500 hours of overtime," Cross said.

And with no relief in sight to the extreme fire danger, officials are asking everyone to use caution.

"People still need to be extremely careful with fire out there and do everything they can not to start them because this was a total accident on this fire and it burned almost 9,000-acres," Cross said.

People in the Edgemont area can still expect to see some smoke coming from the interior of the fire zone.  Crews will stay on scene until the fire is thoroughly suppressed.

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