Custer State Park fire spreads rapidly, threatens towns

Legion Lake Fire now 50 percent contained, more than 73 square miles burned

Legion Lake Fire now 50 percent contained, more than 73 square miles burned

The blaze is 50 percent contained, up from 10 percent reported previously. Officials are evaluating the fire's effects on park wildlife. Residents of about 200 area homes have been evacuated or warned to evacuate, Custer County Emergency Management director Mike Carter said early Wednesday morning. Firefighters made significant progress overnight in the battle against the Legion Lake Fire that has closed Custer State Park.

Custer State Park officials say a fallen power line caused a large wildfire that has raged this week in western South Dakota.

"I do know the Custer State Park buffalo herd were on the south part of the fire".

On Thursday all evacuation orders were lifted but Custer State Park remained closed.

She says there have been no injuries and no main park buildings have been destroyed in the blaze.

Strong winds are fanning the flames of a growing wildfire in South Dakota, pushing the fire beyond the borders of the Custer State Park and prompting new evacuations.

The park is home to a herd of about 1,300 buffalo, and park officials tweeted Wednesday that they'd be checking on the wellbeing of the herd and other animals along its popular wildlife loop road. Hay and monetary donations are being managed by Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization. Officials say the blaze continues to burn north of Fusion Canyon.

The fire began Monday.

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