MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. (KWCH) Thursday, March 26, 2020
A large wildfire in rural Barber County is mostly contained as of Thursday night.
Dispatchers say all units have been released, but crews are keeping an eye out on fire in the canyon area.
Barber County's rural fire chief says they estimate roughly a thousand acres were involved in the fire. They won't have a clear picture until the sun comes out.
Update Wednesday night, March 25, 2020
Wind and rough terrain create challenges for crews continuing to fight a large wildfire in rural Barber County.
Fire officials say efforts over several hours Wednesday has the fire about 60 percent contained. While widespread damage hasn't been reported, a disaster declaration from the Kansas governor mobilized help for several smaller crews combining efforts to knock down the flames.
Barber County's rural fire chief says as of Wednesday night, the total acreage involved hasn't been determined. Crews are expected to continue the fight through the night Wednesday into Thursday morning.
Update 6 p.m.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issues a disaster declaration for wildfires burning about 20 to 25 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in Barber County.
"The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria," the governor's office explains.
Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation out of Salina are preparing to fly to Barber County to assist local firefighters.
The governor's office says the helicopters are equipped with collapsible 660-gallon water buckets. These buckets will drop water on areas difficult for crews to reach.
"I am proud of the extraordinary work these men and women do as citizen-soldiers and airmen - especially in the face of emergencies that threaten Kansans," Governor Kelly says. "They live and work in our communities, and yet always are prepared when called to duty - whether at the state or federal level. They are proving it once again."
Several counties and the Kansas National Guard are helping to fight a grassfire in Barber County.
The City of Pratt Fire Department said the fire started west of Hardtner and is moving north, south of Highway 160.
Dispatchers have not been notified of any injuries or structures threatened.
Units on scene include Deerhead, Aetna, Elwood Township, Hardtner Fire, Kiowa Rural, Lake City, Medicine Lodge Rural, Sun City, Sharon Fire, Union Chapel Fire, Barber County Fire Commander, Harper County, Comanche County, Pratt County and Woods County, Oklahoma. EMS is also on scene.
The 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment posted pictures of soldiers loading two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with Bambi buckets in preparation for going to Barber County to help support local firefighters.