Weather Forecast


Fire hits Artesian barn, fields over windy weekend

Rural area firefighters work to control a grass fire Saturday afternoon south of Ethan. The fire was one of five different grass fires inside a three-mile radius Saturday south of Ethan. All five fires were controlled burns or garbage fires from Friday that were reignited by high winds, according to Jeff Bathke, Davison County Emergency Management director. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

ARTESIAN -- Fire completely destroyed a barn Saturday at a residence in Sanborn County about seven miles south of Artesian.

Elaine Snow and her husband, Donald, saw their horse barn was ablaze after a neighbor who saw it rushed over.

"They started yelling that it was on fire," Elaine Snow said Sunday afternoon. "I thought it was a joke at first. Then I looked outside and thought, 'Oh my god.' "

The Snows, who did not disclose their ages but said they're in their 60s, live at 41530 240th St. The barn fire was one of many fires that occurred over a windy weekend, but it was the only structural fire reported.

Elaine Snow said no one was injured and there were no horses in the barn at the time. She said fire spread from the barn into the neighbor's property and burned some hay bales and slightly damaged the back of a horse trailer.

Snow said firefighters from Artesian, Letcher, Woonsocket and Howard responded to the scene.

"They thought it was an electrical fire," she said, explaining she plans to call her insurance company today to discuss the damage.

Law enforcement officials from the area reported grass fires around the area, including near Parkston, Menno, Ethan, Freeman and Letcher.

The fires spread quickly during a day of high winds Saturday. The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts of 53 mph in Mitchell. The highest wind gust in southeastern South Dakota Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, was 54 mph in Chamberlain.

South of Ethan, there were five grass fires in a three-mile radius that were controlled burns or garbage fires from Friday that were reignited by high winds.

The fires started on different properties with the largest at 60 acres, second largest at three acres and all others less than one acre.

Davison County Emergency Manager Jeff Bathke credited local farmers with stopping the largest fire by getting ahead of it with disks to create a fire line. Emergency personnel were called at 11:30 a.m. and all fires were controlled by 2 p.m. No injuries were reported.