Some Reno County residents allowed to return home

Many residents who were evacuated from the Highlands area in Reno County return home Tuesday night. (Photo: KSN/Chris Arnold)

RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Some residents of Reno County who were evacuated due to wildfires the re-ignited Monday night are being allowed to return home.

Click on map to enlarge.

Sheriff Randy Henderson said in a news release residents who present a photo ID are being allowed to return to their residents in The Highlands area. The entry point for those residents is a checkpoint at 82nd Avenue and Monroe.

Some areas, however, will remain closed, Henderson said.

Residents of the Highlands area will be allowed back into their homes. Because of damage in Highlands, residents will be required to show a photo ID, proving that they live in the area.

The area from south of 82nd street and west of Plum will now be opened as well. Henderson said residents will not be going through security to re-populate that area.

Henderson said 43rd Ave to 108th Ave/County Line, and from Plum Street to Old K-61 Highway are still closed. In addition 82nd Ave between Plum Street and Monroe Street will remain closed.

“How does it feel to have this all opened up now?  Um nice,” said resident Lisa Voth.

“Very excited, I think my wife is even more excited and I think my son is even more excited,” said another resident, Ron Kyker.

But, while many Highlands residents are returning home, fire crews are are still battling areas deemed dangerous.

The area that remains closed is still considered dangerous due to hot spots and “islands” within the perimeter that have not previously burned and other hazards such as downed power lines, Henderson said.

Officials said eight homes and one vehicle so far have been destroyed. So far, no one has been injured.

An estimated 6,300 acres of Reno and Rice County have burned.

Hutchinson Interim Fire Chief Doug Hanen says crews will continue to work hard to maintain the fire line.

“We’ll be doing the same thing we’ve been doing, we’ll make sure that line is what we call cold.”

Law enforcement officers continue to provide security in the evacuation zone.

The shelter at the Encampment Building at the Kansas State Fairgrounds remains open. This includes a pet shelter and also space for horses.

For information and updates, residents can call 2-1-1, which is an information hotline run by United Way. Also the United Way will be taking financial donations for those impacted by the fire. You can contact 2-1-1 about the donations. One hundred percent of those donations will come back to the local community.

Donations of items for responders and evacuees are being accepted at the Garden Center at Wal-Mart, 1905 E. 17th in Hutchinson until 8 p.m.

Please do not bring any donations to the fire stations. Salvation Army and Red Cross are coordinating the feeding of first responders.

A special recognition to the Hutchinson/Reno County Emergency Communications dispatchers as they handled over 2500 calls in the past four days. TERT (Telecommunication Emergency Response Team) deployed to Reno County and has manned the Emergency Operation Center non-emergency call center the past two days.