Officials on Reno County wildfire: ‘This is a long way from being over’

(Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – A fire in the Highlands area in Hutchinson continues to burn according to Reno County officials. The fire escaped the fire line Monday evening at 6 p.m. Currently, there are over 230 responders helping with the fire from 116 agencies.

The fire forced 10,000 to 12,000 people to voluntarily evacuate their homes according to the Kansas Department of Emergency Management. The evacuation area covers Hendricks Street to Highway 61 from 30th Avenue to 108th Avenue. However, those with physical addresses on 30th Street were allowed to return.

“We have not been able to at this point to determine damage estimates,” said Sheriff Randy Henderson. “However, a flyover is planned with a Hutchinson firefighter and Kansas Highway Patrol trooper to get an accurate picture of the damage.”

At this point, residents are not allowed to go back into the affected areas. Once first responders can evaluate the area, a determination will be made if it is safe for the public to re-enter.

“We know many residences were evacuated and anxious for information about their properties and homes,” said Henderson. “We hope to begin damage assessment later today so we can give out accurate information.”

The National Guard will be in Hutchinson to continue water drops. Drones are prohibited during the air drops.

A shelter location was set up a the Encampment Building at the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Officials said about 70 people are there. Residents in Reno County can call the United Way or 211 for information. The United Way is also taking financial donations for fire victims. Also evacuees are encouraged to register as “Safe and Well” on the American Red Cross website: so that loved ones know you are safe.


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