Firefighters cut the final three miles of firebreak through a steep, rocky area on the southwest edge of a fire that stalled Saturday after burning 16,500 acres in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Meanwhile, a fire that scorched hundreds of acres in a Michigan state forest forced the evacuation of about 200 people, and Wisconsin firefighters battled several fires in drought-parched areas of the state.In South Dakota, more problems arose when four new fires started. Some of the 1,200 firefighters at the main fire scene were pulled away to douse the latest blazes that apparently were started by lightning Friday night, said Steve Libbey, fire information officer.
One of the new fires came within a half-mile of the Blacks Hills Playhouse, a summer theater that was narrowly missed by the main fire earlier in the week.
Only one of the new fires, at Flint Hill west of Edgemont, had been contained by Saturday afternoon, Libbey said.
Roads skirting the northwest and northeast corners of 73,000-acre Custer State Park were reopened Saturday, but the park itself remained closed to the public.
Thirty families evacuated from an area just outside the western park boundary were allowed to return home at their own risk, a fire spokesman said. They had been ordered to leave Friday after flames jumped Highway 87 on the southwest edge of the fire in the area around Mount Coolidge.
In Michigan, residents who live near Clear Lake had to leave their homes when a fire roared through Au Sable State Forest on Saturday.
The fire spread rapidly, burning at least 400 acres with 3 1/2 hours, said John MacGregor of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.