Rockerville, South Dakota — A wildfire east of Black Hills National Forest that had consumed an estimated nine acres by Saturday afternoon was expected to be fully contained by nightfall, state emergency officials said.
About 95 firefighters and 27 fire engines were at the scene of the fire, which was located between Highway 16 and Neck Yoke Road south of Rapid City, said Chief Fire Management Officer Jim Strain. He said crews had stopped the fire from spreading by Saturday morning.
No evacuations were ordered, but local officials earlier feared that 20 homes could be in the fire's path. No one was injured, but that there was some property damage to ornamental trees and lawns, said Oliver White, a spokesman with the Rapid City Fire Department.
Crews were expected to be able to contain the fire by Saturday night if weather conditions and resources persisted, Strain said. There were still some unchecked areas burning as of Saturday afternoon.
Ray Bubb, with the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division, ruled out lightning as the cause of the fire. Bubb, who serves as chief of the Rapid City office of the division, also told the Rapid City Journal that officials do not believe the fire was intentionally set.
Firefighters had a difficult time battling the fire early Saturday morning, due to steep terrain, darkness, smoky conditions and high winds up to 30 mph, said Dustin Willett, the director of Penning County Emergency Management.
The South Dakota Department of Corrections brought in several crews of inmates to help firefighters.
A fire investigator was at the scene.
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