By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

HILL CITY -- For the second time in less than a week, Graham County firefighters rushed to the scene of a massive grass fire -- pushed along by near record temperatures and winds gusting at 36 mph.

A nearly 3-mile stretch of grass, approximately 6 miles north of Hill City, burned Sunday, forcing firefighters from throughout the county as well as from Norton County to respond.

Sunday was a red-flag day, a forecast from the National Weather Service warning for a high risk of fires.

Tinder dry conditions and strong winds prompted the warning, but Sunday's high of 85 degrees -- one degree away from the record -- pushed the risk even higher.

It was just Wednesday when Graham County firefighters were called to a fire south of Hill City, where fire got into trees in a nearby creek. The burning timbers forced firefighters to remain on the scene the following day to douse hot spots.

Sunday's fire also started burning trees in a draw, slowing progress in halting the fire.

The fire appears to have started in another ravine approximately 3 miles to the south, where trees continued burning even as firefighters were bringing the fire under control.

The area was in a red-flag warning again today, with strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures adding to the threat, according to the National Weather Service.

The conditions contributed to the chance for extreme fire behavior throughout a large portion of the state as well.