RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Fire crews continue to monitor the Cottonwood Complex fire that broke out mid-day Saturday, forcing evacuations in Reno and Harvey counties and causing civilian injuries
According to the Hutchinson Fire Department, at 12:37 p.m. on Saturday, firefighters were dispatched to the report of a brush fire in the 800 block N. Willison Road, east of Hutchinson, one mile west of Buhler Road.
With catastrophic fire danger and winds upwards of 40 mph, firefighters “had their hands full on arrival.” Units immediately engaged in structure protection and assisted residents in evacuating the premises.
As of 9:30 p.m., fire crews say they are no longer fighting any “running fires” but crews will continue to be on the scene. The fire has damaged approximately 12 acres and structures have been damaged, but fire officials do not have a count of how many homes. Several people living in the area told KSN their homes are badly damaged or destroyed in the area near 4th and Victory, east of Hutchinson.
HFD says when the fires crossed Buhler Road and spread rapidly through the Cottonwoods Golf Course. The winds then shifted to the left, making three fire fronts that firefighters continued to battle for much of the afternoon and evening.
Several people were injured. Via Christi St. Francis said they treated one person in their burn unit but that person was later released. Hutchinson fire said no firefighters were injured. Hutchinson fire asks that if you are missing a loved one in the area to call dispatch at 620-694-2800.
Homeowners are now allowed to get back into their homes, as long as they have ID, however people are asked to stay away from the area, as firefighters will continue to work in region. Sunday fire crews will continue to do damage assessment.
The following roads will remain closed to all traffic: 4th and Avenue G from Buhler Road to the Reno/Harvey County Line, including Victory, Rayl and Worthington.
Temporary flight restrictions will remain in place from Obee Road to Burmac Road, 30th Avenue to Highway 50. Hutchinson and Newton airports remain open.
Burrton High School is currently open for evacuees from the fire. The address is 105 E. Lincoln St., Burrton, Kansas, 67020. The Salvation Army in Hutchinson has also opened its doors for evacuees. Their address is 700 N. Walnut St., Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501.
The Hutchinson Fire Department said in a social media post that any donations for those affected by the wildfires can be taken to the Hutchinson Fire Department Command. Their address is 3201 E 4th Ave., Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501. Food is not being requested for firefighters, but water and sport drinks are being accepted. You can call 2-1-1 to make donations for those who have been affected by the fire.
Cattle pens and water are set up at 8115 East 4th for those who need to use them.
Andover Fire Rescue also said it battled fires in Butler County. They say there are two structure fires and two grass fires involved. As of 8 p.m. all fires were under control in Butler County.