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Heavy equipment started the Auburn Fire says SD Wildland Fire

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:18 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The blaze north of Rapid City known as the Auburn Fire has been burning since Monday. Officials now say the fire is contained enough for it to be considered a clean-up operation.

As of 1 P.M. Thursday, 70% of the blaze was contained. 968 total acres have been burned since Monday.

Jeni Lawver with the state’s Wildland Fire Division said that the number of firefighters on the scene is dwindling because all that’s left are mop-up operations.

“We’ve had a really great interagency show on this fire, and in the mop-up operation, we just haven’t needed the workforce in the last couple of days,” Lawver said. “So, we’ve been slowly de-mobilizing our resources.”

Wildland officials said that a mechanical failure on a piece of heavy equipment sitting in a field is to blame for starting the fire.

Nathan Anderson, the lead technician at Advanced Auto Repair, said that it’s a good time to remind people to be cautious about leaving a car or heavy vehicles where a fire may be sparked.

He said to always be mindful about the condition of the equipment.

“If you have oil leaks in your car that you’re not taking care of, they can accumulate dry dust and oil, and I can see how that could smolder for a few days and eventually drop down and light something on fire.”

Anderson also suggests checking your hood for leaves, pine needles, or other dry material that could ignite.

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