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Fire 3 burros feared dead in Custer State Park S Dakota Fire
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    3 burros feared dead in Custer State Park S Dakota Fire

    3 burros feared dead in Custer State Park fire
    Jimmy Nesbitt Journal staff
    Dec 15, 2017

    A band of burros make their way toward the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park in 2016
    Officials at Custer State Park located its bison herd by Thursday afternoon, and every animal found so far was alive.

    Custer State Park staff are concerned about the fate of three burros that are still unaccounted for following the Legion Lake Fire.

    Six of the nine burros that live in the park had been found as of Thursday afternoon. "We will continue to look for the remainder of the burro herd, but at this time, it is believed they did not survive the extreme fire growth from Tuesday night," the park said in a Facebook post.

    The park is still in the process of locating wildlife, and those efforts will likely continue for several weeks, said Kobee Stalder, visitor services program manager. All of the park's resources were initially used to fight the wildfire, which started Monday morning in the area of Wilson's Corner, one mile northeast of Legion Lake.

    Fanned by high winds, the fire later spread beyond the park's boundaries. Investigators from the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division suspect a downed power line sparked the fire, which has grown to 53,875 acres, or 84 square miles. It's now 80 percent contained. The park remains closed.

    The search for animals has primarily been confined to Wildlife Loop Road. The interior roads are still inaccessible because of the fire, Stalder said.

    Officials located the park's bison herd by Thursday afternoon, and every animal found so far was alive, he said. Staff will conduct an "impromptu roundup" to assess the herd of roughly 860 bison and likely give them pneumonia immunizations because of the wildfire.

    "Custer State Park is known for their herd of bison," Stalder said. "Every other question any time we post on social media is, you know, 'Are the bison OK?' 'Is the wildlife OK?' 'Are the burros OK?'"

    The wildfire is the third-largest recorded in the Black Hills. There have been no human injuries, and main park buildings have been spared from the blaze, officials said. Well-wishers have posted online with concerns for firefighters but also for animals like the bison, the captivating national mammal.

    There are nearly 400,000 bison in North America, many on private ranches and farms, according to the National Bison Association. Executive Director Dave Carter said there are as many as 20,000 buffalo in public herds, with Custer State Park's ranking among the larger ones in the U.S.

    As firefighters have been able to hold the blaze it's now 80 percent contained park officials have been able to dedicate resources toward assessing wildlife and getting more information, Stalder said.

    He said officials also have found the park's southern elk herd but are still searching for another group of elk and most of the pronghorn. Stalder said park staff plans to examine every herd in the park.

    Becky Kienzle, a massage therapist from Dickeyville, Wis., said she's been following the fire this week and worrying about wildlife in the park. The 59-year-old has been to the last eight of the fall buffalo roundups, and Kienzle said she plans on going to the park again next year.

    "I've been enjoying this park for my entire 50th decade," Kienzle said. "I'm praying for most of my animals to still be there."

    Stalder said staff was able to go through early Tuesday and unlock the gates within the park boundary to allow animals to escape the fire.

    "We went through and gave them the best opportunity to get out of the way of danger," he said. "They're naturally smart enough to do that."

    Karen Conley, executive director of the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, said the challenge will be wildlife including buffalo in the park having enough food sources to sustain them until regrowth occurs. She said the group has been inundated with offers to help from members of the "buffalo family."

    Texas resident Rhonda Price Mokerski can't count the number of times she's been to Custer State Park. The 56-year-old outdoor product wholesaler who grew up in western South Dakota said she's been worried for people and wildlife.

    "We are just always bringing people to the Black Hills to experience it," said Mokerski, whose favorite park animals are buffalo and burros. "One of the 'must dos' is to go through this park."
    Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    Custer State Park burros recovering after Legion Lake fire

    (Custer State Park Burros photo by Mailseth - Creative Commons)
    (KSFY) - Some of the most beloved animals at Custer State Park are continuing their recovery after surviving the Legion Lake wildfire.

    The park's eight remaining burros are becoming more healthy, park officials announced Thursday.

    The animals are being kept inside an enclosed and heated facility so the outdoor temperatures do not affect their recovery. They are beginning to eat and drink more consistently, but the park veterinarian said the next two weeks in their recovery will be critical as infection and organ failure can play a factor.

    One burro died due to the wildfire, along with an elk and several deer. Many of the surviving burros were injured due to the fire.

    Park officials are asking anyone wishing to donate hay or fencing to the park following the fire make their donations through Farm Rescue. The organization will allocate donations to surrounding ranchers and farmers who were affected by the wildfire. Anyone wishing to make donations to the park directly can do so here.

    Officials say the Legion Lake fire started on December 11 and was caused by a downed power line. It burned more than 53,000 acres, making it the third largest wildfire in Black Hills history.
    Attached Images

  3. #3
    Sorry this is about 5000 on my list of concerns.
    In Honor of T/S R.L. Hare (Chief Sly)and the members of 322 BS

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Central Iowa
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderbird View Post
    Sorry this is about 5000 on my list of concerns.
    It should be on the top ten if you live anywhere east of the front range (rockies).

    Right now the midwest is experiencing it's coldest temps in over 89 years, and it's dry as a bone out here, and windier than all get out, last time the US experienced weather like this was during the Dust Bowl.
    People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance but that is common amongst those who have never accomplished anything in their lives and who have always played it safe not willing to risk failure.

  5. #5
    As I said MY list of concerns.
    In Honor of T/S R.L. Hare (Chief Sly)and the members of 322 BS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    Burros released back into Custer State Park
    Apr 26, 2018

    Burros returned to Custer State Park on Thursday with seemingly bewildered looks on their faces.

    When their corral gate opened, the animals looked tentative, perhaps wondering why a group of humans was staring at them.

    Eventually, the burros ambled and sniffed their way across a gravel road to a hillside, where they began munching on green grass that had popped up recently from blackened earth.

    The release of the burros occurred at the park's buffalo corrals. What the event lacked in excitement, it made up for in emotion, especially for those eager to see the park return to normal after December's Legion Lake Fire. The blaze burned across the state park, into Wind Cave National Park and onto private land, consuming 84 square miles in total.

    All nine of the state park's burros suffered injuries from the fire, including burns, dehydration, facial swelling and hoof damage. Three of the burros were euthanized, and the other six were taken away to receive veterinary care.

    Two of those burros are still receiving care and are expected to eventually return to the park. Thursday, the other four burros were brought back to the park, along with four more that were recently donated by Beaver Creek Buffalo Co. of Jefferson, S.D., which had purchased burros from the park in the past.

    Kayla and Dustin Brown, of Fall River Veterinary Clinic in Hot Springs, nursed the injured burros back to health and were pleased to see them return home.

    "Just give it a little time, and they'll be back in car windows," Kayla Brown said with a laugh.

    The burros are famous in the park for approaching vehicles, sticking their heads in the windows, and snatching food from visitors.

    The park's history with burros which are really just small donkeys dates to at least the 1920s, when they were used as pack animals to transport tourists from Sylvan Lake to the top of Black Elk Peak. After that practice ended, some burros were turned loose in the park, and a small feral herd has shared the park ever since with bison, antelope and other wildlife.

    Contact Seth Tupper at
    Attached Images

  7. #7
    It would have been better to have kept them out.
    They are a non native invasive species.


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