Fighting 2016 wildfire cost Barber County $1.5M

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MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (AP) – Fighting a wildfire that scorched nearly 600 square miles in Kansas and Oklahoma last year cost the hardest hit county $1.5 million.

The Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/2kX7CpJ ) reports that Kansas’ Barber County is seeking federal help to recoup part of the expense. The blaze started last March in Oklahoma and spread into rural Kansas.

About $400,000 of the cost was for four National Guard helicopters, which dropped water on the fire over two days. County emergency management director Jerry McNamar says money also was spent for fuel, repairs, food and water. Little went toward wages because the county’s volunteer firefighters earn just $15 a run.

McNamar says 750 to 800 cattle died in the county. He also says at least 2,700 miles of fence – worth $27 million – was destroyed.

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