South Dakota logging operation underway after park wildfire

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - One of the largest operations to salvage timber in South Dakota's Custer State Park is underway following a wildfire that thinned the forest in December.

The Rapid City Journal reports that about 15 contractors will log nearly 6,200 acres of charred Ponderosa pines over the next six to 12 weeks. The Legion Lake Fire ripped through about 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) in Custer State Park, Wind Cave National park and private land last month.

Park Resource Manager Mark Hendrix says they'll be dealing with the fire for the next five to ten years. He says the longest operations will include erosion control and weed spraying, but logging is the focus for the next few months.

Forester Amanda Morrison says logging improves safety for visitors and aids the forest floor.

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