Hutchinson family ready for another evacuation from wildfires

ALeiya Marker. She and her family had to evacuate ahead of Monday night's Reno County wildfire. (Photo: KSN/John Asebes)

RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s estimated more than 6,300 acres of land in Reno and Rice counties have been scorched by wildfire in the last few days. At least seven homes also have been destroyed.

KSN spoke with one family who was evacuated Monday night to find out how they felt about the experience. The family said they’ve done a lot of worrying but are holding on to each other and the things that are important to help them get through these tough times.

“We have been working on this house for a few years, and all that hard work and stuff and we love this house,” said Aleiya Marker. She and her family appreciate the important things and life. “Where would we go if the house burned down?”

That’s because the fires in Reno County have been relentless. They kicked back up on Monday night when the winds shifted, causing nearly 12,000 people in the Hutchinson area to evacuate their homes. Many now are left wondering when they can come back, or if there’ll be anything left to come back to.

Aleiya and her sister Chloe returned to their home Tuesday, but Monday night was a scramble. In a moment’s notice, they were grabbing clothes, the essentials and their special stuff, like a quilt made of more than just stitches and yarn.

“This blanket is made out of my papa’s t-shirts,” said Aleiya. “It is just really special because he died three years ago and for us it is awhile ago.”

And, of course, they grabbed their dog, Bo, who took a bit coaxing.

“He ran around out here in the dark and we were like, where is he,” said Aleiya.

In spite of the fact that Tuesday was a pretty day, she and her sister and parents know danger may lurk nearby as fires are still burning in parts of Reno County. They fear for their home which they’ve been building over the last several years. But for now, they’re holding tight and trying to stay positive.

The two girls wanted to give the firefighters a shout-out for all their hard work. And, there’s enough work to go around since more than 200 first-responders have been on the scene and are going to continue to be fighting the wildfires as long as needed.

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