Prescribed Fire

Prescribed Fire (HMOSO)

Location: Custer, SD 57730 Custer County
Country: United States of America

N 43° 43.791', W 103° 49.779'

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An Important Tool to Tame Wildfire

Did you notice that this forest burned? Some areas show no signs of fire. Blackened tree skeletons tell of crown fire in other areas. This is a typical burn mosaic of a western wildfire. How did the visitor center and nearby trees survive? Fire tells a story at Jewel Cave National Monument.

Serving the Forest

Prescribed fires revived the forest around you. How? Without natural fires the forest stagnated. Prescribed fires released locked up nutrients by turning plants into ash. Now soil is richer in treated areas. Prescribed fires also keep meadows open.

Saving the Visitor Center

The National Park Service used fire against fire here. Starting in 1986, "prescribed fires" were ignited in surrounding patches of forest. Why? Without natural fires hotter, more destructive fires had become a dangerous possibility. Prescribed fires cleaned the forest.

It worked! When a wildfire swept through the monument in 2000, it burned cooler in the treated forest patches. Prescribed fire helped these buildings survive a wildfire that elsewhere was an inferno.

Caption for center photos: Prescribed fires are carefully calculated events and conducted by trained fire professionals.

Prescribed Fire and You

Prescribed fire worked at Jewel Cave National Monument. Natural resource managers across the country use prescribed fire as a tool to tame wildfire. Has it been successfully used in your area? Talk to a park ranger to find out more about prescribed fires in National Parks.


Before a prescribed fire is ignited certain environmental elements must fall within a predetermined "prescription":
· Weather (like wind conditions, temperature and humidity levels)
· Moisture levels in dead vegetation
· Quantity and availability of plant material for fuel

Prescribed fires are designed to achieve goals, such as:
· Reduce excessive amounts of dead vegetation
· Protect visitors, facilities and other resources from wildfire
· Improve wildlife habitat
· Kill exotic species
· Promote overall ecosystem health
Placed ByThe National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 11:40am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 594256 N 4842534
Decimal Degrees43.72985000, -103.82965000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 43.791', W 103° 49.779'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 43' 47.46" N, 103° 49' 46.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)605
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1101-1199 F D R 277, Custer SD 57730, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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