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Wildfires in Western Kansas Prompt Temporary Evacuations in Morton, Stanton Counties

Screen shot of wildfire in Stanton County, Kansas from KSN TV in Wichita.

Wildfires in western Kansas forced the closure of U.S. Highway 40 and the temporary evacuation of about 90 homes in the southwestern part of the state.  Laren Reynolds works for the National Weather Service in Dodge City.


In addition to Stanton and Morton counties, part of Wallace County was also affected by wildfires.  Governor Jeff Colyer has already issued a disaster declaration for the area.  Tuesday's wildfires were spurred by 70 mile-per-hour winds.  Most of the blazes were brought under control late last (TUE) night, but the threat from wildfires remains high today (WED), especially in western Kansas.

While no injuries were reported in Kansas and residents were allowed to return to their homes early this (WED) morning, conditions remain ideal for more wildfires to ignite.  Tinder dry conditions have also sparked wildfires in Oklahoma, where two people have been killed.  In southern Colorado, wildfires whipped by high winds destroyed five homes and several outbuildings.  The Pueblo Chieftain reports the fire started east of the city Tuesday afternoon and forced more than 200 families from their homes. No injuries were reported.  Meanwhile, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder tells The Gazette that another wildfire burned at least 10 buildings close to Interstate 25 near Colorado Springs.  A sheriff's patrol car also went up in flames.  Emergency crews across Colorado struggled as hurricane-force winds also kicked up dust, toppled trucks and closed highways.

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Wildfires Break Out in Southwest Kansas, Some 90 Homes Evacuated

Spurred by 70 mile-per-hour winds, a number of wildfires broke out in southwestern Kansas yesterday (TUE).  Ray Burgert is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City.


As a precautionary measure, about 90 homes were evacuated last (TUE) night in Stanton and Morton counties, including the entire town of Richfield.  Portions of Wallace County were also affected by wildfires.  No one was hurt and evacuated residents were allowed to return home around 2:30 this (WED) morning.

Officials: Despite Moisture, Fire Danger Remains High in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - State officials are reminding Kansans that recent rain and snow did not significantly reduce fire danger in the state.  The National Weather Service issued red flag fire warnings and said the fire danger will be only slightly reduced today (WED).  Winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph are forecast, with humidity as low as 5 percent.  The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated because of the extreme fire weather conditions. State officials are asking residents to avoid any activity that could spark a fire.  The red flag warning was issued for Barber, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Lane, Meade, Morton, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Scott, Seward, Stafford, Stanton and Steven counties.

 

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