ANDOVER, Kansas – Firefighters across south central Kansas were on alert for high winds Tuesday that could have sparked another round of grass fires in the area.
Andover fire marshal Mike Roosevelt spent the day patrolling the city and neighboring parts of rural Butler County looking for conditions that could lead to dangerous fires.
“All the grasses are dry and brown, they have very low moisture content, so any fire that does start in those conditions, when you add the wind on top of that, it can grow exponentially in a very short period of time,” he said.
In all, local fire departments teamed up to control at least 17 grass fires in Sedgwick and Butler counties last Thursday, and that gave firefighters a good training run to battle blazes. Some of those fires doubled in size in a matter of minutes, with some flames jumping up to 70 feet across roads, making them difficult to contain.
“It doesn’t take much of anything for them to travel a great distance,” Roosevelt said. “They could land on a roof, they could land on a cedar tree, they could land on somebody’s flower bed that’s left over from last fall. It can be very detrimental and dangerous.”