WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Elk County Sheriff’s Office says a large wildfire near the Elk and Chautauqua County line is under control.
Crews from six counties and multiple townships fought the fire which started at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night.
“The wind would come up and the flames would get tall,” said Lynette Mitchell, volunteer firefighter for Louisburg Township Rural Fire District. “We’d see a curtain of flames going on across the road and on the other side, then take off.”
During the fire, mandatory evacuations were issued for about four to five homes. At 3 a.m., the fire was declared under control.
Many firefighters said this was the largest wildfire they’ve worked.
“I’ve seen flames high,” said Mitchell. “I’ve seen them go with the wind, but last night was the strongest I’ve witnessed.”
Crews will be monitoring for hot spots today.
No injuries were reported and no homes were lost in the fire.
The sheriff’s office thanked citizens throughout the area for providing water and refreshments throughout the firefight.
“It’s going to be tough on them losing the hay that some of the cattle feed on during the winter months,” said Mitchell.
Agriculture experts said wildfires like this that destroy pastures and farm land can be detrimental to the local economy and will have a lasting impact on the families affected.
“Not only is a farmer and rancher’s livelihood affected, but this detracts from their bottom line,” said John Jenkinson, KSN Agriculture Correspondent. “Yes, many of them have insurance, but many of them are emotionally attached to these animals.”