TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Wildfires continued to spread across parts of Kansas Thursday. Emergency management officials said the fires damaged thousands of acres of land.
“The wind blew through so quickly, and we’ve had almost every county fire vehicle up here,” said Lyle Pantle, emergency manager for the Ellis County Rural Fire Department.
The brunt of the damage is in Ellis County, where emergency crews worked late into Thursday night and early Friday morning to put out the flames.
Pantle said it’s “one of the largest fires” they’ve had to handle.
“We’ve probably had hundreds of spots of fire,” he said. “We see power lines, they’re just blowing so hard, they’re either blowing over, or they’re bumping and causing sparks, and those sparks are flying. It doesn’t take much to start a fire.”
Pantle said the conditions can get worse with the shifting winds, especially when areas are harder to access. Aircraft were sent to the scene Thursday to help spray water and assist in their efforts.
Kansas Capitol Bureau obtained visuals of the aftermath from early afternoon Thursday and later in the evening. Parts of Ellis County are covered in miles of black pastures, scorched by the flames. Some buildings were also destroyed in the blaze.
The large fires sent waves of smoke into parts of eastern Kansas Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Crews are also working in other parts of Western Kansas, like Russell, to put out fires.
Pantle said it’s “all hands on deck” until everything is under control.
“I’m tired, I’m ready to call it a day, but we’re going to keep going. It doesn’t benefit anyone to just stop.”