Mechanical Failure Started Fire North of Rapid City (SD)

"This was not a human-caused fire."

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A mechanical failure caused the fire that has burned about 1.5 square miles northwest of Rapid City, according to state and local officials.

South Dakota Wildland Fire and the Rapid City Fire and Police departments tweeted the fire was accidentally ignited by a mechanical failure of some earth-moving equipment, the Rapid City Journal reported.

“This was not a human-caused fire,” the tweet stated.

The so-called Auburn Fire is 50% contained, according to fire officials. Residents of the Marvel Mountain area were temporarily evacuated after the fire, which started Monday, began to spread. The neighborhood remains closed to the general public.

Incident Commander Rob Powell with South Dakota Wildland Fire says the strong wind, high temperatures and shortage of resources have been a struggle for firefighters. Wildfires in California have been exhausting resources elsewhere, he said.

There have been no serious injuries and no structures have burned, officials said.

Rapid City Fire Department, volunteer departments from across Pennington and Meade counties, Ellsworth Air Force Base fire crews, South Dakota Wildland Fire, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service are all fighting the Auburn Fire.

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