Grass fire burns about 200 acres near airport

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – March 8, 2017

Photo by Brian McCauley

Firefighters from Paola, Osawatomie, Louisburg and Johnson County Fire District No. 2 responded to a large grass fire Saturday that charred about 200 acres near the Miami County Airport and threatened homes along 319th Street.

The Paola Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 1:07 p.m. Saturday, and shortly thereafter representatives of the barbecue restaurant We B Smokin at the Miami County Airport called emergency officials to advise that the fire had reached the runway, according to the fire call report.

About 10 minutes after the initial dispatch, firefighters were at the runway and reporting that the fire had enveloped about 40 to 50 acres and was rapidly moving northwest.

Paola Fire Chief Andy Martin said the strong winds did not help the effort to control the fire.

“There were what we call extreme fire conditions,” Martin said.

It took about three hours of work, but the firefighters were able to extinguish the flames just before they reached homes on the other side of 319th Street. Martin said the fire burned about 200 acres between 327th and 319th streets. He added that the fire got into stored pallets of bagged mulch at the former mulch plant, and they were still smoldering as of Monday morning.

A few flames did cross 319th Street and char a few sections of grass next to the road, but no homes or vehicles were damaged.

Martin said the fire was started by a farmer who was burning old hay. A Red Flag Warning was in effect at the time, which means conditions were ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.

Similar conditions across the state have led to multiple grass fires. Martin said Monday that the Paola Fire Department responded to a request from Reno County officials to help battle a grass fire that has burned more than 3,200 acres.

The request came in at 1:39 a.m. Monday, and Paola sent one brush unit and two personnel, Martin said.

Osawatomie Fire Chief Brian Love said he also sent one brush truck and two firefighters, and Fontana also planned to send a unit Monday night.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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