HAYSVILLE, Kansas – Within seconds, 30 mile an hour winds and a pickup truck in a wheat field somehow sparked what would become a heated battle to protect land.
Approximately 70 firefighters from five different agencies battled flames that reached as high as five feet in the air Monday afternoon.
“We don’t know the exact cause, but I would caution all citizens to be aware of the catalytic converters on vehicles,” said Sedgwick County Fire Chief Gary Curmode. “[It] can burn up to 1500 to 1700 degrees, so if they just pull over grass or even tall weeds that can start it on fire.”
In Monday’s fire, Curmode says the wind fought against them.
“The fire was moving so rapidly that we weren’t able to stop it, and it did just on on of the roads,” he said.
It took nearly four hours to get the fire completely under control.
“It was quite scary. I was glad that the wind was blowing straight north where it didn’t hit our houses,” said Kim Forgey, who dodged the fire.
Despite being under control, hot spots could still be seen popping up along the roadways.
Because of all the wind Tuesday, crews are nervous about hot spots.
They’ve been out spraying along the roads trying to make sure the fires do not recur.
A half mile of land was destroyed, but crews were able to save ten homes, 14 barns and some oil derricks and tanks.
Nearly 320 acres of uncut wheat was destroyed leaving three farmers with nearly $160,000 in damages.
Investigators say the fire was an accident.
They’re asking you to do your part in preventing fires from happening in the summer drought.
“Please, don’t park your hot vehicles on the grass areas, or in the weeds or at parks,” said Curmode. “Be very careful, discard your cigarettes properly. Do not have any campfires. We’re in a real crucial time of the United States, especially Kansas, the drought conditions, everything. We don’t want to have these types of fires.”