WALDO, Kansas – Grass fires have burned thousands of acres of land here in Kansas over the past two weeks.
Now, several counties, including Russell, Ellis, Trego, Ness and Rooks have enacted burn bans.
Dry windy conditions can be devastating for the Kansas prairie and fire fighters in central Kansas have had their hands full lately, putting out fires.
“It’s amazing how fast one small fire can turn into a thousand acre fire, it’s amazing to watch,” said Mike Finkenbinder, the Fire Chief in Waldo.
Russell County is one of several that has enacted a burn ban. One of the reasons for the burn ban in Russell County was an out of control grass fire that burned 1,600 acres.
“We called in mutual aid of 14 departments had 36 pieces of apparatus, 84 personnel, it took us twelve hours with the rekindles to get it extinguished and we made numerous runs back out when the wind changed,” said Finkenbinder.
The fires are easily started in dry weather from cigarettes, vehicles driving through dry grass, even sunlight reflecting off bottles left out in dry grass, so firefighters urge awareness.
“I’ve been down the interstate at night, and it amazes me how many cigarettes fly out the windows into the ditches, trailer chains dragging along the pavement sparks flying behind them,” Finkenbinder said.
Firefighters warn, if a fire does happen immediately call 911.
“Get us rolling, and make sure your self is safe, let us take care of it, don’t run the risk of putting yourself in the position where you’re going to be injured.”
If your county currently does not have a burn ban call the fire department to make sure it’s okay to burn.