Firefighters battle back blazes in Rice County

By Chance Hoener
Hutchinson News – March 15, 2018

Large plumes of smoke no longer filled the air in southeastern Rice County Thursday, but firefighters weren’t done yet.

Small fires were still burning across the area of the three fires that ignited Wednesday. Rice County Emergency Management Director and Sterling Fire Chief Greg Klein said firefighters would be patrolling the area for the next 24 to 48 hours.

As of 2 p.m., Klein said the fires were over 70 percent contained, but units were monitoring the area closely.

“We don’t want to let our guard down,” he said. “With the wind shifting on us, things could reignite.”

The fires burned an estimated 7- to 8,000 acres as they moved north Wednesday, and Friday conditions are expected to be worse. The National Weather Service in Wichita listed the Rangeland Fire Danger Index at extreme Friday, as of 4 p.m.

“We encourage people to be cautious and pay attention to what’s going on around them,” Klein said. “If you see a fire, report it, and stay away from closed roads.”

The cause of the fires is unknown at this time and still under investigation.


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

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