Calm before the storm: Fire crews prepare for impending wildfires


NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — Firefighters remain busy with spring wildfires across our area. Still, on Wednesday, conditions were mild enough to allow different agencies to train together for the next time the winds pick up.

“I had a wise person once tell me an emergency is not a good time to exchange business cards,” said Jeremy Ashby, deputy chief of Harvey County Fire District 1. “This gives us the chance to get to know our neighbors and other departments.”

Agencies from Newton and Harvey County worked a practice grass fire together Wednesday.

“If we’re out in a bad grass fire, knowing who you’re talking to and the capabilities of their department really can be just as important as knowing our own equipment,” said Phillip Beebe, Newton Fire Department’s division chief of training.

The mild conditions allowed crews to also perform routine maintenance on their vehicles, and their firefighters.

“Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked things, we also pay really close attention to our apparatus and our equipment, but in reality, none of those are any good unless we’re there to operate them,” said Newton Fire/EMS Chief Steve Roberson. “We’re paying more attention to our physical health, our mental health, and well-being.”

During tonight’s practice grass fire, crews also helped homeowners with a much-needed controlled burn.

“People want to take care of that and so by doing these controlled burns allows them to have a peace of mind,” Ashby said.

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