Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Contact Us:
The Harvey County Independent
220 Main St.
Halstead, KS 67056
316-835-2235

Search this site:

Burrton FD, County Working Together For Wildfire Prevention

Posted 2/16/2017

SEVERAL miles of ditches along North Burmac Road have been cleared of grass and brush to hinder the spread of wildfires this spring. SEVERAL miles of ditches along North Burmac Road have been cleared of grass and brush to hinder the spread of wildfires this spring. By Jared Janzen

BURRTON—It’s been 11 months since a large wildfire north of Burrton burned 12,000 acres in what was the largest fire the area has seen in the past decade. Now as another wildfire season gets underway, Burrton’s Assistant Fire Chief Jim Redinger says the threat is there that the area could see another large-scale wildfire this year.

“The fuel load is still large,” Redinger said.

Thousands of acres in Kansas burn every spring in a normal year, Redinger said. To prepare for the fire season, joint meetings between Reno and Harvey Counties have been taking place for the past three months.

Through cooperation between the Harvey County Road and Bridge Department, County Commissioners and local fire departments, five miles of brush, tall grasses and trees have been trimmed and cleared along both sides North Burmac Road to reduce fuel load and minimize the spread of wildfires.

“What the difference hopefully that makes is when that fire comes up out of the sand hills, when it hits the large fuel load, you have sometimes a minimum of 20-foot (high) flames, sometimes 60-foot flames coming at you,” Redinger said. “If we can lower the fuel load, get the height of the fuel load down, where you have fuel or flames a couple feet tall versus 60-feet tall, then you have a chance to stop it.”

Jim Meier, Harvey County Roads and Bridges Superintendent, said his crews have spent five days so far clearing brush along the five-mile stretch, and after that crews from the Noxious Weed Department went through the area clearing out cedar trees.

“It’s a big deal what we’ve done so far,” Meier said.

Meier said they were not quite done yet because some areas were too wet to be cleared during the first pass through. This is the first year that this preventative measure has been made.

“Obviously we mow it every year, but this is the first year that we’ve made a comprehensive effort to clear timber and brush back all the way to the fence line,” Meier said.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.