Reno County grass fire prompts Hutchinson evacuation

Wildfire burning in the Highlands area of Hutchinson KS. Sunday

Residents were advised to use a garden hose to put out any embers that come into yards and not call 911 every time a glow is spotted.

High winds and dry conditions have resulted in extremely high danger of fire in all areas of the state. The road was previously closed for a grass fire in the area.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, residents of the Highlands were allowed back into their homes.

Authorities say two grass fires have burned nearly 6,000 acres in central Kansas but no injuries have been reported. Several others in that area received minor damage.

State officials say crews were using two helicopters Monday to dump water on the fires, which are 80 to 90 percent contained.

Jason Hartman with the Kansas Forest Service said at a briefing that teams from neighboring states joined the firefight with aerial water tankers. There is also a pet shelter with space for horses.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will staff the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka at a full activation level overnight to monitor numerous grassfires across the state and coordinate assistance, if requested. There were three outbuildings destroyed in the Jupiter Hills fire, according to the Reno County Sheriff's Department. Clark and Comanche counties are the hardest hit, with around 351,000 acres in Clark County and 151,000 in Comanche County that have burned. He says more resources and mutual aid are coming into place to help fight the fires.

Critical fire weather conditions will continue the next few days.

Harvey County has issued a burn ban until March 13, when it will be reevaluated.

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