March 13, 2017

The KSFFA News Blog has been moved to the KSFFA website (top right hand corner).


Photographer captures images of Kansas fires

By John Asebes
KSN – March 10, 2017


During the record setting fires in Kansas this past week, crews from surrounding communities lent their resources to help battle the flames.

“I have taken pictures at a lot of grass fires but none that big.”

Through the eyes of a firefighter.

“You look at the pictures and realize how much damage was done,” says Garry Brownlee.

Garry Brownlee shot these images of a fire that left more than 500,000 acres torched in Clark and Comanche counties.

“Our crews worked on one major fire line almost all night long. The fire line was approximately 2 and a half 3 miles long. The wind was blowing terrible. It moved quick.”

The Mulvane Fire Department joined Sumner County fire and another crew to provide aid to local departments. Brownlee says during the 15 hours their crews were on scene, he witnessed the courage of firefighters. They were, in fact, fighting.

“They are just dedicated to what they do. They want to help. They want to help people. They just have a lot of guts. They have a lot of desire and passion for what they do. The firemen is unbelievable. They like that situation,” says Brownlee.

Another picture tells story of the people who own some of the land.

“They kept the out of town crews out of trouble,” says Brownlee.

He says they jumped in to help.

“They have skin in the game. It is their property, their livelihood.”

But Brownlee says what a picture can’t fully tell you is just how dangerous the elements were. Almost no visibility at times, debris in the air and high winds. He says it is a fire that won’t soon be forgotten.

“It doesn’t tell you how much black but there is everywhere how much stuff there is floating in the air. You really got to be there to experience it.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Do you know who this coat belongs to?

Owner has been found…thanks for all the help!

To all of our friends that have assisted us over the past week first off let us say how appreciative we all our. Secondly this bunker coat was found in the parking lot of our command and training center. It has no department affiliation markings only the number 88 written on the inside of the coat. PPE costs are extremely expensive and we would hate for a department to have the added cost of replacing this coat after helping us. Please share this and maybe we can find the owner of the bunker coat. Contact Hutchinson Fire Department Training Chief Martin @620-694-2880 if you know who this belongs to. Thank You!


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Craig Duke, former KCK deputy fire chief, chosen to head Topeka Fire Department

By Luke Ranker
Topeka Capital Journal – March 10, 2017

After nearly a year without permanent leadership, Topeka Fire Department has a new fire chief.

Craig Duke, a veteran of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., fire department, accepted the job this week, city officials announced in a statement Friday. He will start March 20 with a salary of $125,000.

“I think I speak on behalf of everyone who spent time with Duke during our selection process when I say we are thrilled to welcome him to our team,” interim city manager Doug Gerber said in a prepared statement.

Before retiring as deputy fire chief in September 2015, Duke served more than 31 years with the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department.

In KCK he developed the first fire cadet program which aided those who may have been economically disadvantaged. Duke also developed a first responder program within Kansas City Unified School District 500, as well as CPR and first aid classes for Spanish-speaking citizens.

Duke told reporters at a meet-and-greet in February the classes addressed a significant need at a time when firefighters were increasingly being called to provide medical aid at places where adults spoke Spanish but not English.

In Topeka, Duke will head a department of nearly 250 employees with a budget of around $27 million. In the city’s statement, Duke said his first priority will be to meet with city staff and fire department employees to discuss issues facing the city.

“I’m excited and humbled by being chosen,” Duke said in the statement. “My wife, Denise, and I are looking forward to working and living in Topeka.”

Duke also has experience managing dispatch systems, as he oversaw the transition of fire/EMS dispatch from a joint police to fire department dispatch.

At KCKFD he worked through the ranks, serving as apparatus driver, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief and deputy fire chief before his retirement.

Duke earned a bachelor of arts degree in management and human relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University and an associate of arts in fire science from Kansas City Kansas Community College. He has also been certified as a Kansas emergency manager.

The Topeka Fire Department has gone without a permanent fire chief since the middle of last year, when Greg Bailey retired.

In August, then-city manager Jim Colson announced Richard Sigle Jr., the Topeka department’s director of emergency medical services, would serve as interim fire chief until the city hired a permanent chief. Tim Wayne, of Goodyear, Ariz., previously served as on-loan interim fire chief.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Kansas grass fires are mostly contained

KSN – March 10, 2017

A wildfire Monday damaged homes in Ransom. (KSN Photo)

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management reports that the majority of grass fires is mostly contained.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management reduced staffing in the State Emergency Operations Center to a partial activation level at 7 p.m. last night. It will remain staffed at this level until further notice.

On Thursday, Governor Sam Brownback signed Executive Order 17-01 to assist fire relief efforts throughout the state. The executive order facilitates the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials, and other relief supplies by waiving certain motor carrier regulations.

The Kansas Livestock Association is working with private donors to provide hay for cattle in counties that suffered extensive loss of grazing lands and baled hay. Anyone wishing to donate to these efforts should contact KLA. Information is available on the KLA website.

Fire crews continue to work active fires in Clark County (70 percent contained), Comanche (90 percent contained), Ellis (98 percent contained), Reno (95 percent contained), and Rooks (97 percent contained).

Fire crews will continue to monitor all fires for hot spots and flare-ups. According to figures from local county officials across the state, the estimated total number of acres burned now stands at approximately 711,950 acres.

KDEM officials are reminding Kansans the potential for grass fire still exists in many areas of the state due to dry weather conditions.

The Kansas National Guard has two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with collapsible 660-gallon water buckets assisting ground fire crews in suppressing fires in Clark County. Two CH-47 Army Reserve Chinook helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Forestry Service have also been conducting water drop operations. Since these missions began, the aircraft have dropped approximately 263,410 gallons of water.

The Chinook helicopters and the fixed-wing aircraft will demobilize today. Two Black Hawks will remain in Clark County to assist ground crews.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Firehouse Subs donates $45,000 to help Sedgwick County agencies

KSN – March 10, 2017

KSN Video

Some first responders in Wichita received a large donation from a local restaurant chain to buy life-saving equipment.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation handed out over $45,000 in grants. The money will help the Sedgwick County fire reserves buy a dozen new sets of bunker gear.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office will buy defibrillators, and K-9 Search and Rescue Kansas is getting new water rescue equipment.

“They’re the first in the line of duty to protect us and serve us so selflessly, that we are so excited to be able to support them that way,” said Dana Todd, Firehouse Subs Franchise owner.

Since it began in 2005, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety foundation has provided more than $267,000 in grants to Kansas first responders.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Officials say source of wildfire “suspicious”

By John Green
Hutchinson News – March 10, 2017

Photo by Travis Morisse

Fire officials say the cause of this week’s wildfire is “suspicious in nature.”

Interim Hutchinson Fire Chief Doug Hanen would not comment further on why officials believe that, but said an investigation is ongoing.

“We’ll leave it at suspicious,” Hanen said. “Hutchinson fire investigators will be working in conjunction with the Hutchinson Police Department at this time,” he said.

The fire burned nearly 5,600 acres in Reno County and destroyed 10 homes.

“We’re trying to follow up on leads,” Hanen said. “We want to make sure we have every chance to find out what is going on.”

In a 10:30 a.m. release, fire officials said the fire was 95 percent contained, with 75 firefighters, administrators and other personnel continuing to work on the incident today.

Firefighters continue to focus efforts on 82nd Avenue and Plum Street diagonally northwest to 95th Avenue and Monroe Street.

Plans are to turn the things back over to the fire department at 7 p.m.

A burn ban for the county remains in effect.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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