Wildfires raging again a week after historic fire

Wildfires raging again a week after historic fire

Dry conditions, high winds create tinderbox conditions in grasslands; fires burn hot and fast

Behind the fire comes the blowing ash and dirt.

When the winds came up again on April 4 and 5, the pastures of southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma, blackened in wildfires that began a week ago and were only contained in the past 24 hours, began to blow, adding ash and dust to the smoke that rose in a plume over the region.

That's the story of wildfire in Oklahoma and Kansas and as of sunset in Wichita on Tuesday, both smoke and dirt virtually blacked out the sun as high winds and new fires, pushed by 40-plus mph winds raged out of control.

SMOKE PLUME: The setting sun in Wichita was obscured by a plume of dust and smoke kicked up by high winds and new wildfires in northern Oklahoma which threatened to move into Kansas over night, one week after the beginning of the historic Anderson Creek Wildfire.

One of the most troublesome fires was burning near Woodward, Okla., who firefighters fought to save a chemical plant and was being pushed toward the Kansas state line by the high winds and bone-dry conditions.

"As of now (7:40 p.m. April 5) we don't have word that has reached the state line," a spokesman for the Barber County sheriff's department said. "We sent two units down to help. We've been fighting so hard for so long, everybody is getting worn out."

More than 460 square miles in Oklahoma in Woods County and southern Kansas in Barber and Comanche counties in a wildfire that began a week ago in Oklahoma and was pushed rapidly north under windy conditions mirrored by today's (April 5) conditions.

Tuesday night, fires were also burning in Rice, McPherson, Butler and Geary counties as a "red flag warning" for wildfire danger continues through Wednesday.

Winds were forecast to shift to the northwest late Tuesday night as a cold front moved through the region. Highs for Wednesday -- expected in the mid60s -- should be much lower than the mid-80s of Tuesday which exacerbated the dry conditions and heightened fire danger. Wind speeds, however, were expected to remain high, around 20 to 30 mph, and firefighters feared the flames would be simply be pushed in a new direction.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.