Firefighters fought a pasture fire for more than four hours Thursday night 18 miles north of Hershey, Lincoln County Emergency Manager Dan Guenthner said.
Lightning started the fire around 7 p.m. in the middle of a pasture, about a mile and a half off the Birdwood Road. Crews arrived within a half hour.
Fanned by strong winds that gusted up to 35 miles per hour, the fire traveled north as darkness fell in the sandy, rough country, Guenthner said.
Rigs responded from nearby communities, but not many, because lots of firefighters had already traveled west to help fight six fires that stretched from north of Paxton to Lake McConaughy.
"It was hard to get in front of this one and fight," Guenthner said. "We couldn't really go right at it in the dark."
Crews attacked the flanks with "grass rigs" -- sprayers mounted on pickups and light trucks. Semi-truck tankers from Simplot and Ag Valley Coop brought water. The crews finally contained the fire about midnight, with the help of higher humidity and a change in wind direction, but the mop up didn't get over until 2:30 a.m.
The fire burned between 600 and 1,000 acres, all pastureland, Guenthner said.
"It doesn't take much to ignite (the grassland,)" he said. "We think we had four separate fires, a big one on the south and three more to the north that eventually ran together. It was quite a night."