Strong winds fuel fire, cause zero visibility

By Kristen Roderick
Hutchinson News – March 26, 2014

Strong winds helped a small fire spread Wednesday morning near Nickerson.

Firefighters were called to Nickerson Blvd. and Wild Rose for a grass fire in the railroad right-of-way. The fire also caught a pile of railroad ties, according to Deputy Fire Chief Doug Hanen.

The fire was controlled in 15 minutes, so it did not cross Nickerson Blvd. Hutchinson Public Works brought out a front end loader to help move railroad ties so the fire could be extinguished.

The cause was deemed electrical malfunction on the utility pole that energized the ground wire.

No one was injured.

At the time of the fire, winds were gusting to 50 mph. Thick smoke blew across Nickerson Blvd., causing zero visibility.

“It is best to turn around and avoid the area or wait until the fire is brought under control and fire units clear the road,” according to Hanen.

Strong winds also were responsible for Highway 156 being temporarily closed in Barton County. The Kansas Department of Transportation reported zero visibility because of dirt blowing.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster