400 homes evacuated, Rushmore closed amid fires west river

Photo: Pennington County Sheriff Twitter

NEMO, S.D. (AP) — Authorities say three separate wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota have forced evacuations of at least 400 homes northwest of Rapid City and shut down Mount Rushmore on Monday. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Department said a fire that started near Schroeder Road in the Nemo area, about 15 miles northwest of Rapid City, had burned as much as 1 1/2 square miles and was “still moving” on Monday afternoon. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, in Rapid City to oversee the response, said the fire started on private property. Two additional blazes were burning southwest of Rapid City, near Keystone, with one covering an estimated 100 acres and the other 20 acres. That caused Mount Rushmore National Memorial to close, as well as surrounding roads.  Perkins County Sherriff’s Office also reported grass fires east of Bison.