Ashland rebuilds and regrows one year after massive wildfire


One year ago Ashland was the site of the worst fire in Kansas history.

It’s hard to put a price on the damage.

“Personally our business lost close to 40,000 acres of grass, a couple hundred miles of fencing, and the worst part of our loss was our livestock loss. We lost around 600 cows,” said Garth Gardiner.

But over the past year, help came by the truckload from strangers across the country, rebuilding fences and donating supplies.

“That’s hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of hay that was brought in,” added Gardiner.

But the grass grew back and Gardiner was able to replace nearly all of his fencing, which survived a fire that hit his land again on Monday. But homes were also lost that day last year, as Charlie Gibson and her sisters Celia and Chylynn remember learning from their stepdad.

“I remember when he was telling us he said all you can see was a wall of flames,” said Charlie Gibson, Ashland resident.

They say an Ashland resident reached out to them and offered their family his unoccupied house.

“He let us stay there for the whole year rent free. We have utilities, but we were able to live there for a year,” said Gibson.

It is generosity from near and far that helped the community rebuild and regrow.

“I don’t know, it just says something about a group or a town that if you’re willing to do something like that, it’s amazing,” added Gibson.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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