“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Custer in Custer County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Prescribed Fire

An Important Tool to Tame Wildfire

Prescribed Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
1. Prescribed Fire Marker
Inscription. Did you notice that this forest burned? Some areas show no signs of fire. Blackened tree skeletons tell of crown fire in other areas. This is a typical burn mosaic of a western wildfire. How did the visitor center and nearby trees survive? Fire tells a story at Jewel Cave National Monument.

Serving the Forest

Prescribed fires revived the forest around you. How? Without natural fires the forest stagnated. Prescribed fires released locked up nutrients by turning plants into ash. Now soil is richer in treated areas. Prescribed fires also keep meadows open.

Saving the Visitor Center

The National Park Service used fire against fire here. Starting in 1986, "prescribed fires" were ignited in surrounding patches of forest. Why? Without natural fires hotter, more destructive fires had become a dangerous possibility. Prescribed fires cleaned the forest.

It worked! When a wildfire swept through the monument in 2000, it burned cooler in the treated forest patches. Prescribed fire helped these buildings survive a wildfire that elsewhere was an inferno.

Caption for center photos: Prescribed fires are carefully calculated events and conducted by trained fire professionals.

Prescribed Fire and You

Prescribed fire worked at Jewel Cave National
Prescribed Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
2. Prescribed Fire Marker
Caption: Aerial view of burn pattern in the Jewel Cave area. Red colors indicate unburned vegetation; green to black indicate burned areas.
Monument. Natural resource managers across the country use prescribed fire as a tool to tame wildfire. Has it been successfully used in your area? Talk to a park ranger to find out more about prescribed fires in National Parks.


Before a prescribed fire is ignited certain environmental elements must fall within a predetermined "prescription":
Weather (like wind conditions, temperature and humidity levels)
Moisture levels in dead vegetation
Quantity and availability of plant material for fuel

Prescribed fires are designed to achieve goals, such as:
Reduce excessive amounts of dead vegetation
Protect visitors, facilities and other resources from wildfire
Improve wildlife habitat
Kill exotic species
Promote overall ecosystem health
Erected by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 43° 43.791′ N, 103° 49.779′ W. Marker is near Custer, South Dakota, in Custer County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 16 and Jewel Cave National Monument Entrance Road, on the left when traveling west on U.S. 16. Click for map. The marker is at the Jewel Cave National Monument Vistor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Custer SD 57730, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Prescribed Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
3. Prescribed Fire Marker
At least 4 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jasper vs. Jewel (here, next to this marker); Jasper Fire (approx. 1.5 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (approx. 6.2 miles away); The Hearst Highway (approx. 11.3 miles away).
Also see . . .  Jewel Cave - National Park Service. (Submitted on October 26, 2010, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. EnvironmentMan-Made Features
Remnants of Jasper Fire image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, August 8, 2010
4. Remnants of Jasper Fire
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 482 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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