Area firefighters fought five grass fires over the weekend.
Crews fought one fire Friday into Saturday morning, one fire on Saturday and three fires on Sunday in Riley, Pottawatomie and Marshall counties — all caused by a rekindling of previous controlled burns, officials said.
Riley County spokeswoman Alice Massimi said none of the fires injured any people or destroyed any structures, other than one Riley County fire truck. A truck’s air filter burned Sunday and caused some damage to the paint on the hood. Officials are assessing the damage at the county shops, county emergency management director Russel Stukey said Monday.
Massimi said crews on Saturday morning controlled the fire that started Friday in northern Riley County and burned 600 acres. On Friday, firefighters evacuated one home along Blue River Hills Road, east of Riley. Massimi said dispatch received the call around 1:54 p.m. Friday. The county issued a disaster declaration in order to use Kansas Forest Service air support to combat it.
Also on Saturday, Riley County crews helped fight a fire in Pottawatomie County along Highway 13 that spanned five miles. It was an “off-and-on” fire, Massimi said.
Stukey provided an update on the weekend fires during Monday’s Riley County commission meeting. He said crews worked non-stop from Friday until Sunday night.
Stukey said this isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year, but he encouraged people to take precautions when burning.
Property owners burn pastures at this time of the year to get rid of dead vegetation to promote grass growth.
On Sunday, crews extinguished a fire at 8500 Condray Road east of Riley that burned about 200 acres. The property owner evacuated from the home, Massimi said. Firefighters saved the property owner’s house. Stukey said this was one of the most intense fires he’s seen because the fire got through 30-foot tall evergreen trees.
Crews also fought a fire Sunday at 18055 Bjorling Road north of Randolph. This fire burned under 30 acres.
Also on Sunday, Marshall County fire crews put out a fire along the Riley-Marshall County border because crews knew Riley County was fighting two other fires that day. Riley County did not respond to that fire, Massimi said.
Stukey said though some days may seem ideal for burning, the reason the county designates burn bans on certain days is because officials are looking at the forecast for the next few days.
The county issued a burn ban for Friday and Saturday, but officials rescinded it Saturday.
He stressed people continue to check on the state of their controlled burn long after they believe it’s over to make sure it’s completely out.
“When you do a controlled burn, it’s your responsibility to go back and look at that burn an hour, two hours, five hours, the next day,” he said. “You got to make sure you have everything out. While we probably had 30 or 40 well-done controlled burns on Saturday, we have a couple that were rekindled.”