Two wildfires have consumed thousands of acres north of Manhattan, forcing road closures and evacuation notices in Riley and Pottawatomie counties.

At least one home has been destroyed by the fires, but according to the Kansas Forest Service, no fatalities have been reported. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a disaster emergency declaration Friday in anticipation of dry and windy conditions that intensified the fires.

Shawna Hartman, public information officer for the Kansas Forest Service, said firefighters were working to contain the fire on Friday, but the high winds and dry air helped feed the fire.

“When that dry air hit the already-ongoing fire, fire behavior intensified on Saturday,” Hartman said in an interview.

Crews are responding to two significant fires, called the the Axelton Hill Road Fire, or Jenkins Fire, and the Big Blue 2 Fire.

Hartman said that, as of Monday afternoon, the Kansas Forest Service did not know how many acres had burned. Incident commanders flew over the fires on Monday, she said, but found the blaze was not burning where they had thought.

The AirNow website maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency reported the Axelton Hill Road Fire was affecting 1,500 acres as of Saturday night. On Sunday morning, Riley County Fire District No. 1 reported on Facebook that the fire had burned more than 3,000 acres just in that county.

The Kansas Forest Service estimated Monday afternoon that the fire was 80% contained.

Hartman said the Axelton Hill Road Fire, the larger of the two, began Friday near Tuttle Creek Lake Reservoir in Pottawatomie County before jumping over to Riley County and burning “aggressively” in the lake and river bottoms.

Becky Ryan, public information officer for Pottawatomie County, said that fire began as a prescribed burn, commonly performed in Kansas to control invasive plants, encourage new prairie growth and prevent wildfires. This one got out of control, Ryan said. 

The Big Blue 2 Fire is burning near the town of Blue Rapids in Marshall County, Hartman said.

State Fire Marshal Mark Engholm said in a Facebook post on Sunday that “high winds, wind shifts, rough terrain and abundant fuels are making (the fires) very difficult to control.”

Evacuation notices were issued Sunday for parts of both Riley and Pottawatomie counties. A social media post from Riley County police on Sunday said the “fire is approaching swiftly and is not contained.” 

The order in Pottawatomie County has since been rescinded, and the county said in a Facebook post that the fire was half contained as of Sunday night.

Hartman expected the Kansas Forest Service would learn more about the size of the fire.

The counties affected by the fires are all experiencing abnormally dry conditions or moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map.