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Remembering a prairie fire

Just a few days ago, the smell and sight of spring burning in this region of Kansas evoked this childhood memory...
It started with a spark on a rail that jumped into the dry summer prairie and ignited. Within seconds the southerly wind whipped the fire across the pasture toward our small, rural school.
The culprit was an old black steam engine from the Union Pacific railway that lurched and pulled boxcars filled with wheat across the flat short-grass prairie. It was one of those giant puffing behemoths complete with pistons and huge driving wheels.
The year was 1959. The ...


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