- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A prairie fire in western South Dakota that destroyed buildings and killed livestock is now estimated to have scorched 65 square miles.

The Rapid City Journal reports that officials used GPS mapping to make the estimate, which is up substantially from an earlier figure of 48 square miles.

The Cottonwood Fire began Sunday afternoon east of Rapid City, in the Wall and Cottonwood areas. It scorched private land and part of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. About 300 firefighters from 10 western counties fought the blaze at its peak.

Authorities say the fire was human-caused, but they’re still investigating how it started.

The blaze destroyed numerous rural buildings, though no homes. It also killed 137 farm animals and injured even more. There were no reports of people being injured.



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