Riley County officials say a permitted outdoor burn got out of control this past weekend in the southeastern portion of the county, according to a Tuesday news release.
The fire scorched over 300 acres of grassland and threatened structures and outbuildings in the area of Deep Creek Road Saturday afternoon. No injuries were reported and no structures or livestock were lost. An Everbridge notification sent out Saturday morning noted that outdoor burning would be permitted until 2 p.m. “due to upcoming high fire danger and increasing winds.”
“This was a fast-moving fire that threatened multiple homes,” said RCFD#1 Deputy Fire Chief John Martens. “Last year we had several major wildfires in Riley County and many across the state. Much of our landscape is fuel rich, very dry, and ready to burn with high intensity, and we ask people to stay vigilant this season,” said Martens.
Firefighters were dispatched after 2 p.m. Saturday and remained on scene for about three hours, with more than two dozen firefighters responding from Riley County Fire District #1. Mutual aid was provided by three brush truck units from Wabaunsee County Fire District #8 and one brush truck unit from the Manhattan Fire Department.
Riley County Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Russel Stukey says residents conducting outdoor burns need to make sure they have enough people and equipment to control the fire. He advises anyone who sees an unattended fire, or who suspects a fire has become out-of-control, should call 9-1-1.
“Conducting an outdoor burn is a major responsibility and the fire must be monitored until completely extinguished or adequately contained. Fire can get out of control quickly and can be active for several days or even longer in certain circumstances. The consequences of an out-of-control fire can be disastrous,” said Stukey.
Outdoor burn permit holders are responsible for the fires they set, including potential damages that may occur. More information from the county, about burn permits is available here.