Wildfires in the Black Hills forced at least 400 people from their homes and shut down Mount Rushmore as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze fueled by winds that gusted to more than 70 mph. Three separate fires, all located west of Rapid City, South Dakota, had burned 1,900 acres as of Monday night and were “zero percent contained.” Climate change dries out vegetation, which in turn fuels more destructive wildfires. The Black Hills fires burn as members of California’s congressional delegation called on DOI and USDA, which includes the U.S. Forest Service, to make firefighting work year-round.
Across California and the West, “it has become clear that we are entering a ‘new normal’ in which increasingly intense wildfires wreak havoc during a nearly year-round fire season,” the letter said. California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently one-third below normal and major reservoirs are also low, portending another devastating fire season. (Black Hills fires: AP, New York Times $, Argus Leader, KVEN, CNN, Grand Forks Herald, Axios; Acreage and containment: Rapid City Journal; Agencies: AP; California water: New York Times $; Climate Signals background: Wildfires, Drought)