Community effort, along with much needed rain, contains wildfire in Seward County

Mar 26, 2017

Crews battle a wildfire in Seward County Thursday night.
Credit Courtesy / Seward County

Much-needed rain, along with a community effort by farmers and area fire departments helped control another Kansas wildfire that broke out in Seward County on Thursday.

The 2,500-acre fire is now contained, according to a post by Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Seward County Fire Rescue responded to a grass fire at about 5 p.m. in the area of Road P and Highway 54.

Units already were in the area responding to another fire and were redirected. An immediate need request for mutual aid was transmitted to the Kansas State Office of Emergency Management, according to Barkley. 

About 35 fire units and 62 firefighters from Haskell, Meade, Stanton, Clark, Ford, Stevens, Gray, Wichita and Kearny counties, along with Turpin, Oklahoma, fire respond to the site. 

Several local farmers arrived with discs and county employees brought out the Seward County Road and Bridge road graders. Seward County Sheriff's Office assisted with evacuations. Seward County Emergency Management assisted with resources and coordination.

Heavy rain later in the evening helped extinguish the fire. According to the Kansas Mesonet operated by Kansas State, Seward County received about .30 of an inch and Ulysses received more than a half inch.

With the fire contained, the other fire departments were released and a majority of them were directed to Perryton, Texas, to assist with another wildfire.

Seward County had crews continuing to monitor the situation in the river bottom throughout the night and will continue to be on scene throughout the day Friday.

"We can not stress enough for residents to clear 100 by 100 feet around their homes to provide a defensible space," Barkley stated. "We also can not stress enough during extreme fire danger that extra caution needs to be observed when working near or around dry grasslands."

Barkley added that local Pastor Jack Jacobs helped with the meals for the firefighters. Those left over were sent to Perryton.

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