Local fire departments have fought seven grass fires in Finney County since Saturday, several of which were started by fireworks.
So far, there have been no injuries or damages to buildings or property.
The Garden City Fire Department responded to three fires between the 200 and 900 blocks of West Sagebrush Road in Finney County in the past several days, all of which were caused by fireworks residents shot off in the grass, said Interim GCFD Fire Chief Rick Collins. The fires — two catching at 9 and 10 p.m. Saturday night and another at 4 p.m. Tuesday — each burned through a relatively small 12-foot by 12-foot area of grass, Collins said.
Another three fires tore through about 3 to 4 acres of rural Finney County Monday, stretching from the 12000 block of River Road to the Kearny County line, near several houses and driveways, Collins said. The GCFD, Holcomb Fire Department and Kearny County Fire Department all responded, containing the fire to a certain area. The wind blew the fires close to a few structures but firefighters were able to stop the fire before any damage could be done, he said.
The most recent fire caught on grass near the 1900 block of Chmelka Road at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Collins said. Holcomb Fire Chief Bill Knight said the fire burned approximately a third of an acre of grass before being brought under control.
The cause of both the River Road and Chmelka fires are unknown but officers do not believe they were started by fireworks, Collins said. Vehicle safety chains dragging on roads or a rock bouncing off a car’s rim can create sparks that turn into fires near rural roadways, he said, and the River Road and Chmelka fires were likely started because of that.
Humidity, high winds and higher temperatures have left fields dry despite a rainy summer, Collins said. It’s not hard for fires to catch and spread.
“It's really incredible how fast things have dried out,” Knight said in a text message. “The record rainfall this spring has upped the potential fuel load for wildfire to levels not seen in years. This fuel load will, unfortunately, be with us all summer and will make for an even more dangerous winter fire season next year after freezing. We can't ask people enough to be extremely careful.”
Fireworks can be legally discharged until Friday. Avoid dry, grassy areas, always keep water nearby and soak any used fireworks in water before throwing them away.
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