The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

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The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Sassy on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:40 am

The Latest on wildfires burning in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

A massive grass fire raging in two Kansas counties has set a state record for the biggest involving a single blaze.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Katie Horner says an estimated 861 square miles of land have been blackened in Comanche and Clark counties as of Wednesday. The 625 square miles charred in Clark County is about 85 percent of that county's land.

Horner says the previous record came last year, with the Anderson Creek fire consuming 488 square miles of land in Barber and Comanche counties.

Horner says that since Saturday, large grassfires have been reported in 23 Kansas counties, consuming more than 1,000 square miles.

———

12:10 p.m.

Three young friends, including a couple, were overcome as they tried to steer cattle away from the flames of a wildfire in the Texas Panhandle.

Gray County Judge Richard Peet said Wednesday it appears 20-year-old Cody Crockett was on horseback and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Sydney Wallace, was nearby on foot as fire and smoke swirled around them in Gray County.

Peet says Wallace may have tried to run at the last moment Monday evening but she couldn't escape the smoke. He says she died of smoke inhalation.

Crockett suffered burns, as did 35-year-old Sloan Everett who also was on horseback. The bodies of all three were found close to one another.

A fourth person who died in the Texas Panhandle — 25-year-old Cade Koch (cook) — was attempting to drive home Monday night when smoke from a separate fire enveloped him.

———

11:45 a.m.

Dramatic dashcam video shows a Kansas trooper rescuing a stranded tractor-trailer driver from a wildfire and driving through thick smoke as flames lick the roadside.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman has posted video on Facebook of the fire near the small central Kansas town of Wilson. After the fire jumped Interstate 70 east of him on Monday, he began turning people around before they drove into it. He turned around about 20 cars and two tractor-trailers before the fire also crossed the interstate to the west.

He can be heard on the video telling a truck driver who became stuck to "get in."

Hileman called the situation is "one of the most steering-wheel-gripping moments" he's had in his 20 years with the patrol.

By Wednesday, the fire had burned more than 1,000 square miles.

————

10:40 a.m.

The wife of a man killed in a Texas wildfire says the couple had only learned a month earlier that they were expecting their first child.

Sierra Koch (COOK) says her husband, 25-year-old Cade Koch, was driving home from his job at a hardware store Monday night when he was overcome by smoke from the largest of three wildfires burning in the Texas Panhandle. She described him Wednesday as a hard-working man who "treated everybody with the utmost respect."

A GoFund Me campaign has nearly reached a goal of raising $20,000 to cover funeral expenses for Koch.

Three other people died in a separate fire to the south while trying to usher cattle away from flames Monday evening.

Other wildfires have claimed one life in Kansas and another in Oklahoma.

———

10:05 a.m.

Weather conditions that are fueling massive wildfires in Plains states are expected to improve slightly, but gusty winds and low humidity are still in the forecast.

Bill Bunting is chief of forecast operations at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. He says the area of greatest concern Wednesday is from central and western Oklahoma to western Missouri, with additional danger from Nebraska and Iowa to the Texas Panhandle.

Bunting says the winds will come mostly from the south and southwest, but at 40 mph or higher, and with humidity levels below 20 percent, people shouldn't mistakenly believe the threat is reduced.

He says human activity causes most wildfires in the prairie — a cigarette thrown from a car or sometimes a spark from a catalytic converter. Lightning accounts for 25 percent of fires.

———

9:25 a.m.

About 2,000 firefighters are battling wildfires in Kansas that have consumed more than 1,000 square miles.

State Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Katie Horner says the number of helicopters dumping water on the fires will increase Wednesday from six to nine. This is possible because flying conditions are safer due to calmer winds.

More than half of the blaze has burned in Clark and Comanche counties, both ranching and farming communities along the state's southern border with Oklahoma. Horner says she can't yet provide a cost estimate of the fire damage.

The most populated area affected is Reno County, where 10,000 to 12,000 people voluntarily evacuated their homes Monday. By Wednesday, 1,000 to 2,000 residents of the county remained displaced.

———

8:30 a.m.

Three wildfires in the Texas Panhandle have burned nearly 750 square miles of rural land as firefighters continue to make progress in containing the flames fanned by winds and dry conditions.

The fires have killed four people, with the latest victim identified as 25-year-old Cade Koch. His wife, Sierra Koch, told the Amarillo Globe-News her husband was overcome by smoke as he drove home Monday night.

The fire that claimed Koch is the largest of the three, covering 492 square miles in the northeast Panhandle near the Oklahoma border. It was 60 percent contained by Wednesday morning.

A second fire just to the south has consumed 210 square miles and is 75 percent contained. A smaller fire to the west near Amarillo is fully contained.

The Texas A&M Forest Service says there remains a high wildfire danger Wednesday in the Panhandle.

———


Flames and smoke envelope a grain elevator in Sitka, Kan., early Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Grass fires fanned by gusting winds scorched swaths of Kansas grassland Monday, forcing the evacuations of several towns and the closure of some roads


http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/latest-estimate-burned-land-kansas-doubles-45987930




This is near 4Ever, so take care dear and we are all thinking of you xx
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Re: The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Irn Bru on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:43 am

Good grief, they're having it tough out there. Hope everyone is safe and looking after themselves.
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The stories, just bring back so many nightmares from prior pasture fires!

Post by Aspca4ever on Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:16 pm

Cattle lost in fires: ‘It’s horrible out there, the things I saw today’

Cattle continue to graze right up to the flames of a range fire early Tuesday morning. Numerous cattle were killed by the fires. Wildfires swept by high winds threatened numerous towns across southern Kansas on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Bo Rader - The Wichita Eagle
By Michael Pearce
Larry Konrade of Ashland likes hunting everything from doves to huge whitetail bucks.
But when he left his house Tuesday morning with a favored rifle, he was dreading the day. He felt even worse when it was over.
“It’s horrible, just horrible. I left the house with (60) shells and used them all,” Konrade said. He said he probably killed 40 cows, “and in a lot of places there weren’t even very many left alive to put down.”Konrade, an accountant by trade, had spent the day helping a local Clark County rancher destroy cattle maimed in the wildfire that he says burned almost the entire county. “All in all, I’d guess I seen between 300 and 400 dead cattle,” he said. “It was just a matter of putting animals out of their misery, doing them a favor. They were going to die anyway.
It’s horrible out there, the things I saw today. The fire was so big, and so much of Clark County burned, I don’t see how anything lived through it. Let me put it into perspective: If someone had 500 cattle on their ranch, I’d guess at least 80 to 90 percent were killed in the last day,”
Spare said. “That’s not including the calves; we’re really getting into calving season and there was a lot of baby calves on the ground.” Thinking of some of his customers, Spare estimated they lost at least 1,600 adult cattle and probably another 500 calves, or more. That could equate to losses well into the millions.

One fire came up from Oklahoma, endangering the tiny town of Englewood. Another started north of Ashland and eventually endangered the county seat. Both towns were evacuated. Konrade talked of driving about 20 miles through Clark County and seeing nothing but burned areas for as far as he could see.
“Even those big old cottonwoods, the ones with the alligatory bark, they were burned bare about 15 feet up,” Konrade said.
Dr. Spare, the veterinarian, said conditions could not have been worse for endangering livestock.
“These cows were pretty comfortable, just starting to calve, and there was plenty of grass for them,” Spare said. “These ranchers out here are good stewards; they know how to take care of their pastures. “But a lot of grass can be a double-edged sword. That’s a lot of fuel that can burn in a hurry.”

Konrade said local ranchers, and most area residents, knew there could be bad fires this year.
“Every time you come back in (from hunting or working in pastures) you knew how much fuel was there,” he said. “We’ve gotten good moisture the last three years.
“It’s been dry lately, so you know if you get 60 miles-per-hour winds and anything ignites it, it’s going to burn fast. Still, we never dreamed it could all burn up that fast, but it did.” He spoke of a 22,000-acre ranch that was basically untouched at Monday’s sunset that was mostly ashes by Tuesday’s dawn. About any area that hadn’t burned Monday caught on fire Tuesday.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, he said volunteer crews were fighting the fire along the Cimarron River near the Oklahoma border south of Sitka, the 4 county grain elevator surrounded by flames.

“It’s burning hot, and it’s gotten down in all that tamarack and thick brush along the river,” he said. “God only knows when that might stop. It could burn all the way down to Stillwater, Oklahoma.”

Cattle weren’t the only things Konrade saw dead as he euthanized cattle on Tuesday. Wildlife also took a serious hit over much of the area. “I saw a lot of dead deer, a lot,” he said. “I think I saw maybe 20 deer alive, one coyote, one quail and four rooster pheasants. “We had so much, especially quail, before the fire,” said Konrade, who also runs a hunting guide service in the fall and winter. “I think the outfitting deal may be over, at least for a few years. I don’t see how anything could have survived through what just happened. I hope I’m wrong. It doesn’t look good. It’s horrible.”
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/state/articl ... rylink=cpy
Some people don't understand the rational behind a 'RED FLAG' warning - fire burning bans and for those that travel our state highways & interstate systems they often just take those announcements for granted. Flipping out a nearly extinguished lit cigarette or cigar as if it just didn't matter in the least - starting a BBQ - open pit fire and then ignoring the burning ashes! Hard enough for the local volunteer fire department staff to deal with what mother nature throws at them with the high winds making power lines arc and snap causing sparks - tree limbs to fall into power lines igniting fires - those nightly thunderstorms with occasional lightening strikes setting off a few hot spots; but we've had 6 days of extreme winds and lots of drought conditions and low humidity just waiting for a spark.
This is the 3rd year that our entire state has been under this horrid type of fall into early spring dry, with all of the infamous tall blue stem grasses hip deep in places and calving season a hazardous condition for those nasty winter freezes and ice conditions that still might occur. Toss this 'RED FLAG' into the mix and those heifers barely stand a chance to survive and the losses will be huge for humans and animals too.
I've had FB friends ask; "why can't people just cut those barbed wire fences and allow the cattle to escape" ...well that would be just SUPER if cattle knew to avoid fire.
But cattle being a curious beast and they have zero fear of such a event {despite what the movie industry showed on all of those Westerns during a cattle drive-stampede} they don't flee from that but will walk toward the smoke/fire into their own peril. They have to be driven or enticed by the sight of the daily feed truck to move & follow out of harms way - not towards the danger.


Sydney Wallace, left, and Cody Crockett died trying to save cattle and horses from Monday night’s wildfire, according to Gray County officials.

Four people died Monday night in wildfires that had consumed nearly half a millon acres and continued to burn across the Texas Panhandle into Tuesday evening.

The Gray County blaze took three lives. Cody Crockett and Sydney Wallace were confirmed dead by Sandi Martin, Gray County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, and rancher Sloan Everett was confirmed by a family friend as being the third victim. Gray County Judge Richard Peet said they died while trying to save cattle. One died from smoke inhalation and two from burns.

Cade Koch, 25, has been confirmed as a fire victim in Lipscomb County, his wife Sierra Koch told the Amarillo Globe-News.
The two deadly fires kicked up in Gray and Lipscomb counties about 4 p.m. Monday, following a blaze that began in Potter County just north of Amarillo that forced 70 homes and some business to evacuate. The latest total provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service showed 478,935 acres had burned in the fires.
http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/201 ... -panhandle
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Re: The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Sassy on Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:26 am

Oh those poor kids! So glad it's died down now.

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"The Labour Party is a moral crusade - or it is nothing " - Harold Wilson
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Re: The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Aspca4ever on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:42 pm

Sassy wrote:Oh those poor kids!   So glad it's died down now.

I had some 'CITY FOLKS' on FB try to call me a LIAR about how curious cattle are until that journalist from Wichita published his photo's in that article up there ...those striking images of those cattle grazing with those flames within a couple feet of them is exactly why ranchers/farmers lose so many of their herd.  The myth of the stampede away from 'FIRE' is a movie induced fictional idea ...works well in the movies - it's not reality.  No
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Re: The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Sassy on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:46 pm

It's something I didn't know before. I love the way people who don't know call you a liar, bit like someone always said you were making it up about living in the MidWest and that you were someone else!

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“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number-
Shake your chains to earth like
dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many-they are few.”


Percy Bysshe Shelley  The Masque of Anarchy


"The Labour Party is a moral crusade - or it is nothing " - Harold Wilson
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Re: The Latest: 2-county Kansas wildfire sets new state record

Post by Aspca4ever on Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:40 pm

Sassy wrote:It's something I didn't know before.   I love the way people who don't know call you a liar, bit like someone always said you were making it up about living in the MidWest and that you were someone else!

LOL, INDEED; and that ½ wit tried to school me in my country's ACA {called me a liar on that topic} and then called me worse names regarding my native America heritage too! 
Life has a purpose for such ½ wits, they are the counter balance to respectful & informed adults having an great discussion!  Suspect
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