A major grass fire along the North Dakota-South Dakota border near Lemmon, S.D., was smothered by a 3-inch snowfall this past weekend after burning almost 20,000 acres of ranchland. Last Thursday, Jan. 14, extremely high winds helped ignite and fuel several grass fires across southwestern North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota.

The largest fire near Lemmon burned an area 21 miles long by 4 miles wide. The flames were reported to be 20-30 feet high on the leading edge. No homes were lost in the sparsely populated area, although the fire burned across 19 ranches.

The causes of the fires remain under investigation. Winds in the area had been gusting between 50-60 mph and very little snow had fallen this winter before the fires. Firefighters from 20 departments in a 100-mile radius battled the fire near Lemmon.

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