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Officials don’t expect decline in tourism from Custer fire

December 20, 2017

SIOUX FALL, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota tourism officials don’t expect a historic wildfire at Custer State Park to hurt next year’s visitor numbers or attendance at the park’s annual buffalo roundup.

The park reopened on a limited basis Monday, and officials hope it’s fully available to visitors by the weekend.

State Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen says a silver lining is that the fire burned in December, not peak travel season.

The park is a top South Dakota tourist destination. Its resorts will open like normal come spring, with peak season running from Memorial Day through the end of September.

The fire burned more than 84 square miles (218 square kilometers) in the park and beyond its borders since it started from a downed power line on Dec. 11.

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