As the sun sets red against the smoke in the air, emergency responders from throughout the region continue to battle a grass fire that flared up this morning in Reno County and spread to Harvey County. Here’s an update from Harvey County on the current situation on the ground north of Burrton:
Grass fire continues in Reno and Harvey Counties.
First responders continue to battle a large grass fire in northeastern Reno County and northwestern Harvey County.
The grass fire, now called the Cottonwood Complex Fire, began around East Fourth Avenue and North Willison Road in Reno County around 12:30 p.m. The fire grew eastward, crossing into Harvey County.
No injuries have been reported at this time. One structure has been destroyed in the fire in Harvey County.
Harvey County has made a verbal disaster declaration to assist with organizing and ordering resources.
Evacuations remain in place for a section of northwestern Harvey County due to the consistent fire danger. The area includes Woodberrry Road to Burmac Road from north of U.S. Highway 50 to Northwest 48th Street. Residents east of Burmac Road are asked to be prepared to evacuate if the fire spreads eastward.
Harvey County Emergency Management, in conjunction with The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, has set up an emergency shelter at Burrton High School for residents of both Reno and Harvey Counties.
Fire departments at the scene include Burrton, Halstead, Hesston, Newton, Walton, Hutchinson, Inman, Whitewater and Moundridge, as well as task forces from Sedgwick and Rice Counties and the Kansas Forest Service. Harvey and Reno County Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Offices are also on scene. Marion County fire resources are aiding by backfilling fire stations in Harvey County.