Firefighters on high alert

By Susan Thacker
Great Bend Tribune – March 6, 2017

The Great Bend Fire Department battled small grass fires over the weekend, but the threat of a large wildfire was always there. Both Great Bend and Ellinwood sent fire trucks to Reno County on Saturday.
Grass fires have burned about 6,000 acres in Reno, Rice and McPherson counties, according to the Associated Press. High winds have added to the threat and made battling fires more complicated.
Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said his department sent a brush truck to Reno County Saturday evening.
Ellinwood Fire Chief Chris Komarek said his department also sent a brush truck to Reno County on Saturday.
“We assisted on the Juniper Hills fire north of Hutchinson for 12 hours,” Komarek said. The crew returned to Ellinwood on Sunday morning. That afternoon they sent a tank truck to Rice County from 3-11 p.m. , battling a second fire that started near the Reno-Rice County line north of the Highlands community.

Great Bend fires
Closer to home, Great Bend Fire Department was called to a few small fires Friday and Saturday.
Units were dispatched to 3124 Meadowlark at 8:32 p.m. Friday for a large fire in the back yard. Napolitano said they found an unapproved fire pit surrounded by a large area of burned grass.
“The owner stated that they were burning wood when one of the pieces of wood fell out, igniting the surrounding grass,” Napolitano reported. “The owner was able to extinguish the flames with a garden hose prior to our arrival.”
Firefighters extinguished burning branches at East Barton County Road and SE 40 Ave. on Saturday after someone reported seeing smoke in the area, around 11:47 a.m. They found a small amount of dead branches burning on the edge of a line of trees.
At 2:18 p.m. Saturday, units responded to a report of a grass fire at 2185 Kansas Ave., but the Great Bend Police Department got there first. GBPD officers were able to put out most of the fire with an extinguisher before the GBFD arrived, although a patch of grass was still smoking.
Smoke was also reportedly seen in the 400 block of U.S. 56 (West U.S. 56 and SW 40 Ave.) at 7:27 p.m. Saturday, but nothing was found.

Wind advisory
High winds and dry conditions continue to pose a critical fire threat. The National Weather Service office in Wichita showed central Kansas was under a “red flag warning” for extreme grassland fire danger until Monday night. The area will also be under a red flag warning from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Northwest winds of 20-35 mph and gusts up to 40 mph will continue into Tuesday evening, while the relative humidity will be as low as 11 percent.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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