WPR News
12:07 am
Mon July 9, 2007

Rain Helps Firefighters in South Dakota

Laramie, WY – A top fire official says overnight rain
and cooler temperatures dealt a "priceless" blow to a South Dakota wildfire that has killed a homeowner, injured two firefighters and destroyed 27 houses.

South Dakota State Wildland Fire Coordinator Joe Lowe told crews
at the morning briefing that the better weather gave them a chance to shore up the fire lines but conditions could change for the worse.

More than 425 firefighters now staff the Alabaugh Canyon Fire that covers an estimated eleven square miles just southwest of Hot Springs in southwestern South Dakota.

Lightning sparked it Saturday evening.

Lowe says the dry ground, gusty winds and heat fueled the blaze and prompted the highest measurement ever recorded in the Black Hills for a wildfire's intensity.

Crews have contained 20 percent of the fire and expect to have it fully contained by Thursday.