Hutchinson FD, national guard among crews helping to contain Harvey County wildfire

Homes in Harvey County largely untouched after what’s being called the Wheat State Fire burned...
Homes in Harvey County largely untouched after what’s being called the Wheat State Fire burned through the area Saturday and into Sunday. About 5,000 acres were impacted.(KWCH)
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 5:09 PM CST
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - A fire that burned about 5,000 acres across Harvey County did not leave extensive damage, thanks in part to assistance from neighboring counties and two Blackhawk helicopters from the Kansas Army National Guard. Decreased wind speeds on Sunday also helped. Monday, the Hutchinson Fire Department discussed its involvement in fighting the blaze and what crews were up against. Units representing Hutchinson and Buhler formed a Task Force that on Saturday stepped up to protect a home and keep the fire south of a main road.

Battling shifting winds, crews fought to contain the southeast progression of the fire Saturday evening. A second Reno County Task Force and a Rice County Task Force were among the responders who helped to protect rural properties. The crew consisting of Hutchinson firefighters fought into the night on Saturday (Nov. 14) and returned Sunday to assist with overhaul and hotspots. The Hutchinson Fire Department said one of its firefighters suffered a minor knee injury in the overall successful assistance effort.

“This fire was very challenging and shows the importance of helping other departments when required,” the Hutchinson Fire Department said. “We work regularly with Buhler and Burrton on these types of incidents and the teamwork pays off to protect lives and property. Since the inception of the Reno County Task Force in 2016, we have worked with every Fire District in the county on wildland fire task force deployments and certainly appreciate the teamwork and extra effort that is put in to make things run smoothly. There were several other counties providing resources in protecting a large amount of property and helping bring this fire under control.”

The Hutchinson Fire Department also issued a reminder for people to be cautious with any type of fire or “spark-producing activities.” This is especially true with an overall decrease in moisture over the past few months.

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