Multiple Clay County fire departments battle a large grass fire north of Vermillion Sunday afternoon.
Vermillion Fire Chief Matt Callahan says that the Vermillion Fire Department responded to the report of a grass fire north of Vermillion near Spirit Mound.
Upon arrival, fire command identified a large, fast-moving, wind-driven grass fire. Mutual aid from multiple agencies was requested immediately. Callahan says attempting to contain two flaming fronts, fire crews initiated direct attack and burnout operations along Highway 19.
Due to heavy smoke and poor visibility, direct attack efforts were withdrawn for firefighter safety. The burnout operation was of partial success, blocking the southeasterly direction of the fire. A small portion of the fire spread to a nearby farmstead but was stopped by firefighters.
South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office closed a portion of Highway 19 near the area as a safety precaution.
One farm building sustained severe fire damage, and one Spirit Mound Park building received minor to moderate damage. A bridge on the Spirit Mound walking path also received minor damage.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.