Speed Reads

wildfires

Mount Rushmore closed as South Dakota firefighters battle multiple wildfires

Two wildfires near Rapid City, South Dakota, forced the closure of Mount Rushmore on Monday, as well as the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

The Schroeder Road fire is burning west of Rapid City, and has scorched around 1,000 acres. Roughly 250 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is driven by winds of 50 to 72 mph. Fire officials said two homes and several outbuildings have been destroyed, with 400 residents evacuated. This is a "very active and dangerous scene," the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said in a press release, and people are being asked to stay away from the area.

A fire southwest of Rapid City has burned 75 acres, and although this fire prompted the closure of Mount Rushmore, the blaze is not threatening the monument, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said. Officials said they do not yet know the cause of the fires, and are concerned that due to the high winds, they could quickly spread.