Firefighters say Reno County fire is one of the toughest ever

This photo shows the Highlands fire that flared up again Monday night near Hutchinson, (KSN Photo)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Firefighters in Hutchinson and Reno County are getting help from all over the state.

“Sleep has been hard to come by the last few days here. But we’re getting it set up with all the help from all the other agencies,” says Chris Ledbetter, Hutchinson firefighter. “I mean my kids are happy when I’m home. But the fire is… still out there.”

Chris says it takes a few minutes to unwind on the couch after a 12-hour day of fighting the Highlands fires. But, as the fires still burn, he does find a way to sleep.

“Have to sleep. Have to,” says Ledbetter. “When we are back on the lines we have to be at it again.”

With trucks coming in from WaKeeney in western Kansas, to Olathe in the Kansas City area, it’s a challenge to coordinate. But, the help is a welcome sight for those who continue to try to save lives and save homes and property.

McPherson Fire Chief Jeff Deal gets emotional just talking about it.

“Thank you falls so short. You can’t,you just can’t,” says Deal.

He also says the challenge of coordinating all the volunteers who have come out is a joy.

“An absolute joy. I mean look at this. We have a Topeka fire engine sitting here in (one of) the Hutchinson Fire Stations,” explains Deal. “I mean yeah it takes coordination but that’s what the incident command is for. It’s working.”

Firefighters say they will do what it takes to get the fires out.

“Long way to go,” says Ledbetter. “But isn’t that why we are here? We all love this.Hard as it is at times.”

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