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Engine Academy and Live Fire Exercise Taking Place in Custer State Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, June 7, 2021

CONTACE: Jeni Lawver, Wildland Fire Division Public Information Officer, 605-381-7232


Engine Academy and Live Fire Exercise Taking Place in Custer State Park


CUSTER, S.D. –South Dakota’s Wildland Fire Division this week is hosting its annual Engine Academy which will include a live fire training exercise within the boundaries of Custer State Park.  The live fire portion of the event is expected to take place on either June 8, 9, or 10 (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) if fuel and weather conditions allow.


“The purpose of the Engine Academy is to provide seasonal employees the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to operate and maintain a wildland fire engine during pre-suppression, suppression, and post-fire operations,” said Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price. “We want our employees ready when they are needed.”


Firefighters plan on igniting approximately eight acres just south of the Blue Bell Lodge gate. The exercise calls for firefighters to receive the incident information from dispatch, navigate to the incident, properly size up the fire and order the necessary resources, and suppress the fire using safe and appropriate tactics. 


“We are providing the opportunity for our seasonal firefighters to gain experience and give them the tools to implement leadership values and principles,” said Custer fire management officer John Haskvitz. 


Smoke may be visible in the surrounding areas and can linger for several days after ignition has been completed. Fire crews will secure, patrol and monitor fire lines as appropriate for public and firefighter safety.


For more information on smoke management visit: http://gpfireinfo.blogspot.com/p/smoke-management.html.

The Wildland Fire Division is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.