WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Over the last few days, we’ve been talking fire, fire and more fire and the heavy winds only makes it spread, quickly. Thousands of acres burned in Hutchinson last night and with countless controlled fires quickly becoming uncontrollable.
Spring in Kansas can be a dangerous time. But studies show that over 50 percent of these fires are not from natural causes but rather, human error.
“The number one causes right now are just people throwing out cigarette buds while their driving along the road side,” said Lt. Jose Ocadiz.
There hasn’t been much snow this winter making the prairie grass extremely dry. So, when your cigarette butt hits it and gets picked up by the wind, fire can spread and quickly.
“Be cautious because the wind right now is blowing, I believe from the south and it’s always changing here in the state of Kansas,” said Lt. Ocadiz.
However, these butts aren’t the only things causing grass fires.
“Catalytic converters out of cars; when those deteriorate and the little honey comb sections in the catalytic converters come out the exhaust, those are very hot, around 1000 degrees,” explained Dan Wegner, Sedgwick County Fire Marshal. “Get one of those on the side of the road in the grass those will also start a grass fire.”
This extends to recreational fires as well.
“We do ask people if they’re going to BBQ or use your chimney or something like that, please think about the weather conditions and how strong the winds are,” said Wegner.
It only takes one loose ember to spark a fire so, officials recommend to:
- Properly Dispose of Cigarettes
- Routine Vehicle Maintenance
- Check Weather Conditions Before Lighting Outdoor Pitt
Also, it many be a good idea to check within your city or county for rules on controlled burns. In some areas you can burn on your property with a permit but others, it’s not allowed at all.