By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Schroeder Fire in South Dakota might have grown in size somewhat on Thursday, but so did its containment rate.
The fire grew to 2,224 acres on Thursday, but its containment level also reached 86%, according to the fire tracking website InciWeb.
Nearly 220 people are working to combat the fire as of Friday, an increase from 170 who were working on fire management on Thursday.
The plans for Friday were to determine when the last evacuation orders could be lifted. A red flag warning is in effect until Friday evening, and officials warned against potential fire hazards during the Easter weekend.
“The safety record has been outstanding, but it is important to continue to stay engaged and maintain awareness of your surroundings,” fire incident commander Matt Spring said.
Crews also planned to focus on mop-up operations and patrolling the fire line, protecting structures and rehabilitating containment lines from firefighting efforts.
There is now only one aircraft being used to combat the fire.
Smoke and flames were expected to be visible on Friday as the fire continued to consume unburned fuels within the fire’s interior, but this was normal.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The fire was discovered Monday and grew rapidly near a heavily populated area in the burn scar of the 1988 Westberry Fire. The fire is located about three miles from Rapid City, South Dakota.
South Dakota Gov. Krisi Noem has declared a state of emergency in the face of the fire. Around 400 to 500 homes in the area were evacuated.