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Silver Star

Silver StarSilver Star Subdivisions 1 & 2 lies in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, approximately six miles south of the town of Custer. The two subdivisions are contiguous, with a total acreage of 164. The subdivisions contain 30 tracts varying in size from five to thirteen acres. Three buildings within the community are original from the homestead era.

Silver StarTopography within the Silver Star boundaries is rolling and fairly gentle slopes. However, it includes occasional rock bluffs. The vegetation is predominantly Ponderosa pine forest on the slopes and open grassy meadows at the base of slopes and in drainages. Three sides of the community are bordered by USDA-Forest Service lands. Residents of Silver Star became aware of the threat of wildfire and began extensive vegetative thinning in the subdivision in 1997.

Silver StarIn April of 2003, the present Firewise board chairperson attended a Firewise workshop in Durango, Colorado. In August of the same year, Silver Star I and II voted to join together and become a Firewise community. In that same year, the community purchased fire tools for initial attack, primarily for use on single-tree lightening fires. Residents also completed the removal of forty acres of storm- damaged timber, burned all the slash piles and raked and seeded the burned areas.

Silver StarIn 2004 and 2005, subdivision members thinned over twenty acres in Silver Star II and an additional six acres in Silver Star I. On June 14, 2004, staff from South Dakota Wildland Fire Suppression conducted risk assessments on all properties, improved and unimproved, in Silver Star I and II. A Firewise Day was held in the subdivision on September 28, 2004. Ninety-five percent of the landowners attended. Al Stover, Fire Management Officer, went over the homeowners’ risk assessments, presented a Firewise film and answered questions landowners raised about wildfire mitigation. On January 23, 2005, the Silver Star I and II Firewise Board created a comprehensive Firewise plan. Firewise Communities/USA approved it on February 4, 2005. In February of 2005, over 80 percent of the homeowners had created defensible space around their homes and outbuildings.