While the forecast did not include thunderstorms, several strong to severe storms moved through the region of North Central Nebraska and South Central South Dakota on Thursday evening.  Some of these storms had gusty winds and lots of cloud-to-ground lightning.  The Valentine Volunteer Fire Department responded to a couple reports of grass fires and smoke in the area.  The first call came in just after 7pm with a grass fire reported about a mile north of Merritt Reservoir on highway 97 south of Valentine.  This fire was quickly extinguished due to a fast response from local firefighters.  As trucks were responding to this fire, another report of smoke north of Crookston was reported.  No fire was found, and it is possible that rains put the fire out before firemen could get on scene.

The Civil Air Patrol was mobilized Friday morning to fly over the Niobrara Valley and McKelvie National Forest land to check for smoke or fires. 

And a reminder that the county-wide burn ban remains in effect in Cherry County until further notice.