STERLING, Colo. (CBS4) — A wildfire that burned on the plains of northeastern Colorado near where a grass fire destroyed four homes killed dozens of cattle earlier this week is being blamed on a cigarette butt.

The latest fire, the so-called Sand Hills Fire, broke out Thursday east of the Sterling prison. It burned 683 acres just after 2 p.m. and was fully contained shortly after.

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A wildfire broke out east of Sterling on Thursday afternoon (credit: CBS)

Firefighters believe it may have been caused by a careless smoker.

Colorado State Patrol tweeted that the cause is possible a result of a smoldering cigarette butt.

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The other fire burned about 50 square miles in Logan and Phillips counties before being contained Wednesday.

Ranchers in Phillips County reported they lost 200 cattle that were either killed by the fire or had to be killed because of their injuries.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

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– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.