HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Fire crews continue to battle two large grass fires in the Hutchinson area.
Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer says the fires have been named the Ice Fire and the Beer Fire. He says they are both 50% contained as of Tuesday morning. He says it could be Monday before they are 100% contained.
The Ice Fire is along Plum Street between 95th and 108th. Beer says 300 acres burned and one house has minor damage. He says crews saved 39 homes and 11 outbuildings with a property value of $5.3 million.
The Beer Fire is from 4th Avenue to 43rd, between Kent and Willison Road. The fire chief says approximately 600 acres have burned, but no buildings have been damaged. He credits the firefighters with saving 87 homes and 15 outbuildings valued at $11.9 million.
Beer says one civilian was injured in the fires.
The Reno County Sheriff’s Office asks people to continue to avoid the area and do not drive around to look at the fire or check on the damage.
The cause of both fires is still under investigation.
The Beer Fire was first reported around 2 p.m. Monday near 4th Ave. and Willison Road and spread north quickly due to winds in excess of 50 mph.
The KSN SkyView Network camera in Hutchinson caught the smoke from the fire when it started.
The Ice Fire was reported in Reno County around 4:30 p.m. and spread into McPherson County.
A tanker was called in to do airdrops to contain the flames.
KSN talked to several residents in the area. “We’ve had close encounters but this maybe is the closest. It’s pretty scary out here with all of the prairie grass and stuff,” said Kathy Wyer, Reno County resident.
“We just know it is going to move fast so we are just hoping it calms down and nobody loses a home,” said Clinton Hageman, Reno County resident.
“With the wind blowing like this and the embers strike and can blow across the street and start another fire so the crews are working diligently trying to prevent that from happening throughout the night,” said Reno County Sheriff Darian Campbell.
The sheriff’s office said several roads were closed, but have since reopened.
The Reno County Commission declared a local state of emergency because of the fires.
The Saline County Fire Department said that around 6:30 p.m. Monday, multiple departments from Ellsworth and Saline County battled a fire along the Saline and Ellsworth County line.
The National Weather Service issued red flag watches and warnings for parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri on Monday. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are present.