South Dakota ranchers seek better communication on wildfires - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota ranchers seek better communication on wildfires

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Ranchers in the Edgemont area say they'd like better communication from interagency fire officials when crews come in to fight wildfires in the Black Hills.

Sen. John Thune on Friday visited with firefighters and ranchers in the Edgemont area of southwest South Dakota, where a blaze scorched nearly 14 square miles of grasslands and timber, primarily on National Forest lands.

Some ranchers say interagency officials ignored local expertise that could have helped crews battle the fire.

The fire is now 95 percent contained, and mop-up efforts have been aided by heavy overnight rainfall in the area.

Rancher Mark Hollenbeck says he'll have to sell at least half of his 250 cattle and 200 sheep because the fire burned between 1,000 and 1,200 acres of grass on his 1,600-acre ranch.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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