By Wendy Nugent and Harvey County
BURRTON—Smoke turned the air almost as dark as night early Saturday evening on U.S. Highway 50 between Burrton and Halstead as smoke from a brush fire blew over the highway.
Wind gusts were strong, blowing the fire’s smoke that appeared to be far away one second and up close and causing one to put on one’s COVID-19 mask on the next.
Emergency responders have been battling the grass fire near Northwest 48th Street and North Burmac Road, southeast of Buhler since this afternoon, and it didn’t appear to be anywhere near being extinguished as of 6 p.m.
The initial call to Harvey County Communications was received at 12:44 p.m. The call reported a grass fire in pastureland.
The fire response is ongoing. About 700 acres of land burned in the fire as of 3:38 p.m. No injuries or damage to structures have been reported at this time. However, emergency responders are prioritizing, protecting structures in the area.
Continued strong, gusty winds are providing additional challenges for first responders.
Roads in the area are closed to traffic. Individuals are asked to avoid the area.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
Several agencies have responded to the scene, including fire departments from Burrton, Cheney, Halstead, Hesston, Moundridge, Mount Hope, Reno County and Walton, as well as the Kansas Forest Service.