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Strong Winds, Dry Conditions Create Havok, Spark South Dakota Wildfires

Trucks Turned Over by Wind
Tracy Comp/Twitter

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Strong winds and dry conditions have led to several wildfires in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.

About 15 homes in a subdivision west of Custer were evacuated for a time Thursday due to the 353-acre Fork Fire. Fire officials say the residents were allowed back home Thursday night.

Officials say about 20 residents southeast of Custer have been told they might have to be evacuated because of the Glen Erin Fire, which is between 10 and 30 acres in size.

Both fires are less than a square mile.

Meanwhile, a calmer day is in store for South Dakota residents, after winds gusting to hurricane force caused problems across the state.

The wind on Thursday gusted in excess of 80 mph in some areas. It flipped vehicles, fanned wildfires, damaged buildings and blew down electrical lines, leading to power outages.

In Lead, the wind ripped the roof off a storage unit. In Pierre, it damaged the roof on a high school gymnasium.

The Pennington County Courthouse shut down because of a power outage. Outages were reported throughout the Black Hills.

Numerous trucks and sport utility vehicles were blown off roads. State Transportation officials reported four semitrailers blown on their sides on Interstate 90 near Belvidere. A flipped semitrailer also shut down a portion of U.S. Highway 14 near Pierre.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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