Crews continue to battle Rice County wildfire


RICE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Firefighters said a wildfire in Rice County has flared up again.

According to Rice County Emergency Management, the fire started in the Whispering Meadows area at Ave. W and 28th, Sunday.

An air tanker was called on Sunday to help. The tanker made four water drops in an area that was hard for fire crews to reach.

Overnight Sunday, emergency management said lighter wind and higher humidity helped crews set backfires to contain the fire.

But there were still some hot spots, and those are causing a lot of problems. More fire crews arrived to help because the wind increased Monday causing the fire to flare up.

“The biggest issue is just wind and trying to keep embers from flying into unburned areas as we move through the day, as the wind starts to pick up throughout the day right now that is just our biggest hurdle,” said Chief Greg Klein, Sterling Volunteer Fire Department.

Tony Wonsetler was watching television Sunday when he realized his home was surrounded by smoke. It wasn’t long before fire crews and neighbors arrived to help keep the flames away.

“Within a half hour, we probably had 25 or 30 people here you know, six or seven fire trucks from Rice County and Sterling and Pratt.”

The fire so far has burned about 1,800 acres.

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