Finney County fire narrowly missed gas lines

The grass fire was three miles wide.

FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — The grass fire in Finney County yesterday spread for miles. It burned from south of Holcomb to just north of the Haskell County line.

High winds yesterday helped the fire spread, but the community fought back hard.

“As fast as the wind was blowing,” said John Jenkinson, KSN’s agriculture expert, “it was a real advantage to have the farmers involved and tilling the soil ahead of this fire to keep it from spreading and give the firefighters a chance to really get around it and try to contain it.”

Holcomb’s fire chief Bill Knight believes it started with a hay bale on fire, but he isn’t sure what sparked the flames.

Fortunately, nobody was injured, and no structures burned.

“We could see that there was an oil field battery as well as a gas line installation that was just narrowly missed by the fire,” said Jenkinson after a flyover of the burned area, “and no homes or farms were involved.”

It took more than 30 firefighters from five different departments to control the fire, even as some hay bales continued to burn through the night and into today.

“Fortunately, even though it’s a bad deal for those land owners, it could have been much, much worse,” said Jenkinson, alluding to potential explosions if the fire had reached the gas lines.

Knight tells KSN that several farmers in the area were crucial in fighting the flames. Their water trucks were able to navigate the soft soil more easily than the fire engines.