Danger of wildfire in southwest Kansas critical

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Prolonged dry weather and high wind are a combination proving to be dangerous this time of year.

“If the grass was up to my waist and the wind is blowing 20 miles an hour and the fire’s coming this way, I’m extremely scared,” said Randell Currie, landowner.

“The wind does play a very significant part in the fires this time of year,” said Chief Allen Shelton, Garden City Fire Department.

Because many people in rural Kansas don’t have trash pick up, they burn it and that can be a problem.

With tumble weeds piling up in trees in windbreaks and the crops growing drier and drier as winter goes on, it’s not that hard for a spark to find some good fuel.

Officials stress that simple things can cut down the fire risk, like not tossing cigarette butts or lighting a fire when the wind is blowing over 15 mph.

And no matter what always call in a controlled burn.

One thing people don’t always realize that heat from the bottom of a vehicle can ignite dry crops so don’t drive through fields stay on the roads.

As for landowners, mowing dry crops instead of harvesting them for feed is a last resort for fire prevention.

“I make less money, but I don’t burn my house down,” said Currie.

Fire officials are keeping an eye on the skies for signs of fire but counting down the days to spring.

“It’s much harder to burn green fuel than dry fuel, but life is coming, spring is on the way,” said Currie.

Garden City is currently not under a burn ban, but always check with your fire department during a high risk period.

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