March 7, 2017
SEWARD COUNTY RESIDENTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seward County responded to a report of a grass fire on Monday March the 6th 2017. At 3:06 PM a caller reported a fire near the intersection of US HWY 83 and HWY 51 in Seward County KS. A deputy sheriff arrived at 3:08 PM and fire units arrived shortly thereafter. The fire moved to the east along county road 13 and then to the southeast as it burned approximately 5,000 acres of crop residue, grass, and wheat as well as structures, vehicles, power poles, center pivot equipment, oil field equipment, fences, etc.
Thankfully, no injuries were reported from this fire. There were however four homes destroyed, three of which were occupied. Sheriff Deputies evacuated 18 residents and many others self-evacuated in the path of the fire.
The ignition source of this fire is not known, but the point of origin was near HWY 83 on the east side of the Highway. Once the fire began burning, low humidity and high winds contributed to its rapid spread.
Two semi tractors, one service truck as well as four passenger vehicles, and one County fire truck were destroyed. Thirty one power poles were destroyed and a number of oil/gas well sites were damaged.
Several area farmers and heavy equipment operators responded to assist in building a fire line around this fire, so that it could be contained and extinguished. Other local farmers supplied water for the fire department and helped to move livestock out of harm’s way. Their help was vital to our efforts in getting the fire under control and our appreciation goes out to them.
Fire units from Stevens County, Haskell County, Turpin Oklahoma responded to provide mutual aid to Seward County Fire Department.
Seward County set up a shelter/assistance operation at the Seward County Activity Center to be prepared to support individuals that were displaced by the fire, this was closed about 10:30 PM as no residents were in immediate need of shelter. Other County employees provided support to the effort by getting news and direction out to our community.
Thanks to all who helped, it was great to see everyone working together to keep our residents safe.