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Local officials learn from massive wilfire
new deh county update photo web
A train trestle in Barber County burns during the Anderson Creek wildfire in March. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 When the Barton County Local Emergency Planning Committee, sponsored by Barton County Emergency Management, met July 12 for its third quarterly meeting of 2016, members got a lesson in how to plan for and cope with a wildfire disaster. 

Jerry McNamar, Barber County emergency manager, gave a presentation on the Anderson Creek Fire that occurred in that county, March 22-28. 

Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller said the Anderson Creek Fire was the 11th largest wildfire in the United States but has the distinction of being the largest private property fire in the United States. Wildland fires holding the top 10 spots on the list have all occurred on Federal lands. 

McNamar  told the committee t he Kansas Forest Service was in Barber County during the wildland fire.  They worked with the Incident Management team.

Barber County applied for a Fire Management Assistance Grant to help pay for the costs of responding to the fire.

Miller said McNamar described how volunteers responded to Barber County for the event and outlined several problems that occurred that will be reviewed for improvements in the future. Estimated total damages for the wildfire exceed $30,000,000.

The committee also reviewed Emergency Support Function 10 – Oil and Hazardous Materials of the County emergency operations plan. Stuart Johnson, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, provided information on Southern Star pipelines in Barton County. Responder safety and health issues during oil and hazardous materials were discussed.

The update on the declaration was part of Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman’s departmental update during the Monday morning County Commission meeting. Other highlights included:

Emergency Management

• A state of local disaster emergency could be declared for Kansas after wind, rains storms and flooding June 25-28 and June 30-July 4, and the state was wanting damage estimates from all 105 counties.

The deadline for public entities to report damage July 15. Initial reporting of damage estimates for townships, cities, schools and county has been ongoing since June 25, Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said. The estimates are being compiled and will be forwarded to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

County Engineer Barry McManaman

• Finalized right of way acquisition for bridge east of Great Bend.

• Working on plans for two concrete box culvert extension projects.

• Looked at an intersection for sight distance at the request of township official.

• Looked at minimum maintenance township road concerning a fence issue.

• Researched drainage issues on a township road southeast of Great Bend at the request of landowner.

• Finalized and distributed the agreement for this year’s hot mix overlay project north of Great Bend.

Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips 

Road and Bridge

• Asphalt work continues in northwest Barton County near Susank and Galatia. 

• Asphalt patching occurred northeast of Hoisington. 

• Flooding of roadways during the July 4 weekend required emergency call out to close roads. Road damages due to flooding were assessed.

• Mowing continued in southeast Barton County. The second pass for 2016 was started on NE 30 Road.

• Ditch work and replacement of culverts was performed for Great Bend Township.

• Flooding at the Ellinwood sandpit required fill materials to be replaced on the pit banks. It rose eight feet, but no equipment was flooded and there was no other damage.

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock

In the past two weeks, the Barton County Landfill took in:

• 927 tons of municipal solid waste

• 144 tons of construction/demolition waste

• 368 tons of special waste

• 507 loads of waste received for disposal

• $55,445.54 of revenue generated through disposal fees

County Treasurer Kevin Wondra

• The Treasurer’s Office processed a total of 1,257 motor vehicle transactions between June 30 and July 13. Of those, 874 were vehicle renewals and 185 were new titles. In the past two weeks, personnel has also renewed, registered or updated six commercial vehicles. 

• The department is still attempting to clear up delinquent properties so they are not on the tax sale. At this time, there are 71 tracts on the tax sale. 

• The bookkeepers are in the process of reconciling the bank accounts. All daily work is current. 

Interim Juvenile Services Director Marissa Woodmansee

• Youth Awareness class was held for Drug and Alcohol and Anger Control.

• Juvenile Intake and Assessment has completed 13 intakes for the month so far.

• Juvenile Intensive Supervised Probation and Case Management currently are supervising 69 youth from this Judicial District.

• Project Stay is the Case Management program for youth who have truancy issues and currently provides Case Management for 31 youth in this Judicial District. • Teen Court is held every month and currently has 15 active cases.