Officials are preparing for a nearly 2,200-acre planned fire at Wind Cave National Park in southwest South Dakota.
The National Park Service says the burn scheduled for September will keep ponderosa pine trees from encroaching on the prairie land. Grass will carry the fire and about 50 firefighters will be on hand.
The burn area is located in the southwest corner of the park, west of Highway 385.
Smoke is expected to be heavy along the highway and visible in the surrounding region. The road may be temporarily closed for safety reasons.
The prescribed fire program began in 1972. Parts of the park are burned in a controlled setting every year. The fire removes the buildup of dead brush that could fuel a wildfire and rejuvenates the prairie grasses.
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