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Evacuated residents cleared to return after wildfire burns more than 2,000 acres west of Topeka

Evacuations were ordered Friday afternoon in Shawnee County due to a large wildfire burning...
Evacuations were ordered Friday afternoon in Shawnee County due to a large wildfire burning toward Willard and Maple Hill.(Topeka Fire Department)
Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (AP and KWCH) - Update, Friday night, April 2, 2021: Our news partners in Topeka, WIBW report the reopening of a road and the clearance for residents of the town of Willard to return home as firefighters gain the upper hand on a wildfire that burned at least 2,200 acres. WIBW reports there are no reports of injuries nor damage to any buildings.

Update: One town has been evacuated due to the threat from a wildfire that’s burned at least 800 acres in Shawnee County, west of Topeka. Firefighters continue the effort to defend several homes in the area. The town of Willard was evacuated and the nearby community of Maple Hills was on the evacuation list, but firefighters were able to get flames under control near there.

As of 6 p.m. there is no known cause of the fire. Eyewitness News is monitoring the fire with our news partners, WIBW in Topeka.

Authorities are urging people to evacuate two towns near Topeka because of a large wildfire.

The Topeka Fire Department said in a tweet Friday that western Shawnee County should be avoided. The tweet said residents of Maple Hill and Willard have been urged to go to the nearby town of Rossville. Multiple emergency crews are on the scene.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag fire danger warnings for the area because of gusty winds. Shawnee County Emergency Management didn’t immediately have any other details to release.

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