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Halstead, KS 67056

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Area Firefighters Battling Blazes In Reno County

Posted 3/8/2017

By Pilar Martin

HARVEY COUNTY—Local firefighters from across Harvey County have been heavily involved in the raging wildfires north and east of Hutchinson since last Saturday, March 4.

Sedgwick’s Fire Chief Sam Enterkin said the call came in about just about 3:31 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. “We sent a tanker and Engine 33 and three guys over there and they were on site for 12 hours,” Enterkin said.

Sunday saw Engine 36 and two members of the team back in Reno County. Monday evening another crew of five along with an engine and rescue truck headed back out to help protect homes in the area. They got back in around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Burrton EMS Director Rusty Walter said they had crews back and forth all weekend.

Tuesday morning, Walter said a crew had just headed back out.

Halstead crews have been out since Saturday as well. Squads 24 and 25 went to Hutchinson Sunday afternoon, and S25 was sent to keep watch overnight.  On Monday evening, Medic 23 and the DMSU (Disaster Medical Support Unit) trailer were taken over to a staging area near the fire. Halstead’s EMS Director Anderson Lowe said they were called over in case nursing homes had to be evacuated. “There were 16 ambulances and the DMSU brought in but we stayed on standby,” Lowe said. “The evacuations were not necessary.”

“We have three levels or statuses,” Lowe added. “The first one is alert, where there is a slight potential for something to happen. Then there is stand-by, when we start reassembling our teams. This gives those working an opportunity to get back closer to the area in case we have to leave. If a deployment status is issued, we have only 30 minutes to move out.” Halstead’s DMSU was still on standby status Tuesday afternoon.

Bentley’s volunteer firefighters also made the trip to Reno County to help out.

The first fire called Juniper Hills started on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, another fire started by the Highlands subdivision. Approximately 4,500 acres have burned in the Highlands area.

At a press conference late Tuesday morning, Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson said 230 responders representing 116 agencies from across the state were on site in Hutchinson. The fire had been stopped one mile from the northern Hutchinson City limits.

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