November 4, 2010
Hutchinson firefighters are still on the scene of one of three grass fires that started Wednesday afternoon.
The first fire started along S. 56th Street, south of Sand Hill State Park. It burned approximately 75 to 100 acres. The fire was brought under control yesterday evening, but firefighters remain at the scene Thursday, battling hot spots and making sure the fire doesn't re-ignite.
The second fire happened at 23rd and Lucille. It burned approximately 30 acres. It was brought under control yesterday.
The third fire happened in the 1900 Block of E. 95th. Firefighters were also able to get that fire under control yesterday.
The cause of all three fires is still undetermined. Investigators say it could be difficult to determine how the fires started.
The Kansas wind caused a huge problem for firefighters Wednesday after something sparked a grass fire near Hutchinson. Embers from the blaze caused two other smaller fires to start, keeping folks northeast of the city on their toes. The first blaze broke out near 56th and Mayfield Rd.
Officials warned early in the day that there would be a fire danger on Wednesday and by 2:00 PM, it became a reality.
"I looked back up and there was a big cloud up above that house and I was like "Call 911 now!" said David Wakefield, who lives on property that was burned.
When firefighters arrived, the wind had already blown the flames across 43rd Street, where firefighters staged to begin their attack. Several homes were threatened, but the sheriff credits quick action by firefighters from eight surrounding departments for saving them.
"The only thing I'm aware of is a barn that had some scorching on two sides of it," Sheriff Randy Henderson said. "There are some homes up in there that the fire people worked very hard from getting hit."
The Wakefield family lives on property near the fire. They noticed the thick black cloud rising into the sky and knew immediately that this was no small problem.
"I just got off work," explained Edith Wakefield. "This is my son and he said 'You need to come home. There's a grass fire.' He had just looked out the door and saw the smoke at the back of the house. It was in the front five acres."
In the strong Kansas wind, it took nearly six hours to get the fire under control.
"KHP even has a plane up that is spotting hot spots that the firemen can't see and calling in those locations," said Henderson.
By early evening, firefighters finally had a handle on the blaze and began releasing units. There were no reports of injuries.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Crews are battling two large grass fires northeast of Hutchinson.
One is on the Hutchinson Municipal Airport property at 23rd/Airport Rd.,
the other is North/Northeast of the intersection of 43rd& Juniper.
Reno County authorities are not requiring evacuation at this time, but are asking that those in the area be prepared to leave at a moments notice.
The Red Cross has set up temporary shelter at the Trinity United Methodist Church located at 17th and Main in Hutchinson.
Onlookers are urged to avoid the area.