As of this past weekend, fire crews continued to work active fires across the state and they continued 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 over 1,000 square miles.
Many homes have been destroyed and lives unsettled. There has extensive loss of livestock and other resources.
Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials are reminding Kansans the potential for grassfire still exists in many areas of the state due to dry weather conditions. Although there is no statewide burn ban, residents are urged to contact their local emergency management or sheriff’s office to find out if a burn ban exists in their area. The best practice under current conditions is to refrain from burning anything outdoors.
This advise was echoed by local officials. Fire District Number One Chief Doug Hubbard and Barton County Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller spoke about these concerns about to the County Commission Monday morning.
As spring winds blow and with the lack of moisture, there’s a danger to both persons and property whenever a fire gets out of control, they said.
This should be common sense. But, sadly, many people out there continue to be reckless.
So far, here in Barton County, we have avoided the massive fires that have devastated other parts of the state. But, there for the grace of God go we.
We have the wind. We have the dry conditions. We have had the fires.
We have just been fortunate, thanks to the valiant efforts of our local fire departments, that these blazes haven’t spread.
There are enough opportunities for these fires to start completely by accident. We don’t need folks doing stupid stuff like tossing cigarettes out of vehicle windows or trying to burn trash piles.
Firefighters have to treat even the smallest blaze as if it were a potential big one. So, when they respond, it drains resources that could be needed elsewhere.
This puts us all at risk.
The bottom line – be cautious. It make sense that if you are living in a tinderbox, you shouldn’t strike a match.