DEADWOOD, S.D. (KELO) — In efforts to avoid dangerous wildfires, the Black Hills National Forest Service is burning slash piles.

While these flames may look intimidating, the amount of snow up here in Deadwood helps prevent these fires from spreading.

And that’s why the recent weather is ideal for the Fuel Reduction Project.

“We look for conditions that are conducive to burning which is right behind me here with the snow coverage. It’s an opportunity for us to tackle and burn these hand piles that were created by contractors a couple years ago,” John Snyder, Fuel Ast. Fire Management Officer, said.

About 10 firefighters are working to burn the almost 300 slash piles.

This is the second phase of the project that went into planning nearly 5 years ago.

“So, we space out evenly with the 9 people that we have at the top of the hill to the bottom. that way we are not smoking the next person out by the blowing hot air and the embers into that person that is above us or below us,” Brandon Fischer, Fuels Technician, said.

To be safe, all of the personnel on the project are patrolling daily so that these fires don’t get out of hand.

“We monitor this until we call the project ‘out’ or the piles ‘out’ means there is no more potential for the fire to progress along the landscape,” Fischer said.

By burning these slash piles and reducing fuels in the Black Hills, the National Forest Service hopes to slow the progression of any potential wildfire in this area.

If you see smoke in the Deadwood area, it is most likely the burning slash piles.