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Rain slows South Dakota wildfire, cancels evacuations

The fire was rapidly expanding until the rain came late Sunday.

By Ed Adamczyk
Control of a 12,000-acre wildfire in South Dakota was helped by a heavy rainstorm Sunday. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Wildland Fire Division of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture
Control of a 12,000-acre wildfire in South Dakota was helped by a heavy rainstorm Sunday. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Wildland Fire Division of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture

SIOUX FALLS , S.D., July 18 (UPI) -- A 12,000-acre wildfire on the South Dakota-Wyoming border has been largely subdued by a heavy rainstorm after dozens of residents were evacuated.

The Indian Canyon Fire was growing close to the city of Edgemont, S.D., Sunday, and 60 people were evacuated with plans to remove more, when rain started and the evacuation order was canceled.

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The fire began Saturday, and is believed to have begun by a lightning strike. By 4 p.m. Sunday it burned an estimated 9,000 acres and was "rapidly growing," a Great Plains Fire information spokeswoman said, adding the fire grew by one-third in four hours, with no containment. Reduced visibility, because of smoke, was reported by the National Weather Service in parts of Wyoming and South Dakota.

Putting out the fire was helped by the arrival of a VLAT, a converted DC-10 aircraft considered the largest fire tanker in the United States, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Despite the soaking rain, the fire has not been declared under control. Responding firefighters include national forest crews from the Black Hills and Nebraska, personnel of the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire, volunteer fire companies, the South Dakota National Guard, and aerial firefighting units from South Dakota and Nebraska.

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