South Dakota bison herds injured after winter wildfires

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Winter wildfires in South Dakota's Custer State Park and Bear Butte State Park didn't cause any direct casualties to the parks' bison herds, but some may have possibly fatal injuries.

Custer State Park's Herd Manager Chad Kremer tells the Rapid City Journal that no bison herd casualties were reported from the direct flames of the Legion Lake wildfire that burned almost 85 square miles (220 square kilometers). Kremer says one cow was euthanized after smoke damage left the animal blind.

He says other bison had injuries from their outer, thicker coat being burned off and burns on their backside, underbelly, eyelids, muzzle and lips.

Kremer estimates between five and 10 bison may need to be euthanized because of injuries.

The Bear Butte State Park herd was spared from a fire last weekend.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)