Agency RSS

South Dakota Wildland Fire Division Annual National Guard Helicopter Training

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2020


Media Contact: Jeni Lawver 605.381.7232



South Dakota Wildland Fire Division Annual National Guard Helicopter Training



Rapid City, SD- South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Wildland Fire Division in conjunction with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the South Dakota National Guard Aviation Unit will be conducting their annual wildland fire recertification training.


Aerial water delivery practice with a live fire exercise will take place Friday, May 8, in Custer State Park.


This exercise will be held in the area of the Blue Bell gate located off the intersection of SD Hwy 87 and the Wildlife Loop Road. Helicopters will be dipping water buckets out of Stockade Lake near the dam. Some smoke will be visible in the Blue Bell Lodge area. The public is advised to stay clear of these areas between the hours of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


This exercise is designed to conduct annual refresher training for the Black Hawk helicopter unit as well as live training for ground personnel.


Unmanned Aerial System (drone) operators are requested to refrain from flying in the area during this exercise. Flight operations will be shut down if there are any drones flying in the area.


All agencies involved will be following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this exercise.


For further information contact Ray Bubb at 605.381.7262.


There will be a media staging area located at the west side of Custer State Park at the intersection of South Dakota Hwy 87 and the Wildlife Loop Road. Vehicles can park at the visitor rest area parking lot at this location. The media is advised to arrive at 10:30 a.m. for interview opportunities. Flight operations will begin around 10:00-10:30 a.m. and will be concluded by 1 p.m.


Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $32.5 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 132,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.