Lane County residents pick up the pieces after wildfire burns 18,000 acres of land

Mar 12, 2017

Credit Kansas Division of Emergency Management

As many of the grassfires in Kansas were brought under control by the end of last week, emergency workers and residents began picking up the pieces in Lane County, where an estimated 18,000 acres burned. An estimated 39,000 acres burned in neighboring Hodgeman and Ness counties.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Lane County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Taldo surveyed the charred landscape on Thursday, after the fires had been extinguished, finding blackened farm equipment and structures, as well as 40 to  50 head of livestock that had been killed.

While an official cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Taldo suspects the fire started when 50 mph wind gusts Monday dislodged an electric line, sending sparks onto the drought-ridden land.

Max Prose narrowly escaped the fire, escaping a tractor that had gotten caught between two trees as 10-foot-flames approached.

By Monday evening, the Prose’s home was completely destroyed and along with it, old wedding pictures and valued family photos.

The Prose’s main priority now is to feed their cattle and rebuild fences, an effort that Max’s wife Mary said has been greatly helped by local community members.

According to the Kansas Adjutant General Department, fires in Clark Comanche, Ellis, Reno and Rooks were from 70 to 97 percent contained as of Friday.