Grass fires strain local responders resources

TOPEKA, Kan. – (KSNT) During dry seasons grass fires become a problem for first responders. Fire crews from several rural departments responded to an out of control controlled burn in Western Shawnee County Thursday afternoon.

Shawnee County Emergency Management Public Information Officer Errin Mahan said crews left the fire after thinking it was under control only to return to a larger fire.

“They believed it was out, the wind started again and of course what was left picked up and started the even larger burn,” Mahan said.

The fire burned nearly 100 acres. Mahan said grass fires use up valuable resources that may be need elsewhere.

“There are still resources needed for other emergency responses in other jurisdictions, and it definitely can be a strain on resources,” he said.

And while grass fires can threaten property, he said other emergencies may be far more serious.

“It’s more of an extreme inconvenience, due to that strain on those resources that very well may be needed somewhere else in a potential life safety situation,” he said.

He said it’s important for people to let their local fire department know if they plan to burn grass or leafs. That way the department can tell them if it’s safe to burn and also respond quickly if a burn gets out of control.

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