Crews battled and contained a wildfire in Clark County, Kan., that was pushed by high winds and low humidity.
The fire began one day shy of the one-year anniversary of the massive Starbuck wildfire that scorched 460,000-plus acres in Kansas. Coupled with that fire’s damage in Oklahoma, Starbuck blackened 662,000 acres.
Allison Kuhn, a public information officer for Clark County Emergency Management, told KWCH News today’s fire started before noon north of Hwy 160, about five miles west of Ashland.
Jenny Giles Betschart, Ashland, Kan., told Drovers the fire was contained about 2:30 p.m. She said the fire began when a truck caught on fire west of Ashland, igniting a shelterbelt. Winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour from the Northwest pushed the fire South of Ashland, and the town was not in danger.
Extreme fire danger remains for the area through Tuesday as stronger winds are expected. Betschart said the fire danger this year is worse than last year.
“It’s much worse,” she said. “We haven’t had any measurable precipitation since September. Last year we had an ice storm right before the fire, but nothing this year.” Betschart’s family lost 1,000 cattle in last year’s fire.
Officials estimated 1,500 to 2,000 acres burned in today’s fire.
Today’s temperature in Ashland was 57 degrees F, with 9% humidity. Tuesday’s temperature is forecast at 54 degrees F, and winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts to 60 miles per hour.
In the Audio Brice Gibson Clark County Kansas Ag/Natural Resource Extension Agent talks about how things are a year after the fire and how producers and volunteer fire fighters are more prepared.