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Department History


Silver City was settled in 1876 by the Gorman brothers who came to the Black Hills from Canada in search of precious metals.  There wasn’t an official “fire department” until 1964, below are some highlights from our history:

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April 15th – First organizational meeting


May 15th – Bylaws approved


August 14th – Department formally established – 501(c)(4)


September 12th – Original 16’x26’ one-bay station dedicated


October 10th – Fire hall finished

December 8th, 1968 – Purchased schoolhouse from the Pactola School District for $2.00


1970 – Acquired “Special Use Permits” from USFS schoolhouse and cemetery properties


May 5th residents and enacted by Pennington County Commissioners

2011 – Minor bylaws change


2011-2013 – Aligned with new fire service standards


2012 – Minor bylaws change


2012 – Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) action plan developed and executed


2012-Present – MPB district wide spraying program


2012-2014 – Fuel load prevention agreement with the USFS thru-2016 to mitigate fuel loads around Silver City and throughout the fire protection district

  • Tree thinning programs on private property – saved property owners 50%-100% on tree removal costs through a State reimbursement program

  • 300’ shaded fuel break established around Silver City – first time the USFS did a timber sale with a fire department


2013 – Completed the FireWise program


2013-2014 – SCVFD added 12 new firefighters from the Rochford Road area


2014 – Disengaged from all non-firefighting department assets and management responsibilities through a contract with the Silver City Historical Society – i.e. schoolhouse, cemetery, garden property, church, and garbage service

2014 – SCVFD created a 10-year strategic plan for long-term viability


2014-2015 – Established a temporary Station 2 at the northern fire district boundary – i.e. behind Cousin’s Pizza and the Sugar Shack off U.S. Highway 385 and the Rochford Road


2015 – The SCVFD passed their new bylaws, and transitioned from a “general community membership” to a “firefighter only membership” structure by a vote of 47-1


2015-Future – Exploring options for a permeant Station 2 on the Rochford Road area of our fire district in addition to addressing the financial requirements for equipment, facilities, and training

1980 – Fire hall expansion – second bay


1991 – Fire hall expansion – third bay


1999 – Raised membership dues from $5.00 to $20.00


2009 – Minor bylaws change


2010 – Fire hall expansion – third bay rebuilt into 2 bays

1980 – 2010

Black Hills Wildland Firefighting History


1893 – Devastating wildfires prompted President Grover Cleveland to create the Black Hills Forest Reserve on February 22, 1897


1920’s – Wildland firefighting became policy – Federal &  State – to prevent loss of resources and lives; based on the 1910 “Great Fire” in Montana and Idaho that burned over 3.0M acres and killed 86 people


1935 – U.S. Forest Service's fire management policy stipulated that “all wildfires were to be suppressed by 10:00 a.m. the morning after they were first spotted.”


1939 – A major wildland fire north of Hill City prompted the USFS to find more firefighters.  25 high school boys volunteered and joined the ranks of over 4,000 firefighters who fought the fire for 3 days.  For their efforts they were rewarded with becoming the only school district in the United States to have the       privilege of using "Smokey Bear" as its mascot.

Black Hills Fire Protection District History


Purpose The entire purpose of the Black Hills forest fire protection district is to protect the timber and areas subject to unusual fire danger – Per South Dakota Codified Law: 34-35-15


1941Legislative action was taken as the result of the 1939 McVey Fire (near Silver City) consumed 12 million board feet of saw timber, 18,000 acres of young trees, 17 cabins, and 100 head of cattle, with 1,755 men on 47 miles of fire lines to establish a fire protection district


1941-1995 – State laws were updated to include refinements to defining the boundaries and considerations within that said area – i.e. municipalities


2007 – The legislature passed a law that update the modern boundaries of the District and exempted existing fireworks businesses to a new prohibition on fireworks within the District.  This new law provides for better fire prevention by local fire personnel, but also allows some safe firework entertainment.


© 2017 Silver City VFD

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