Area fire crews scramble again to put out grass fires

Firefighters from several area departments battled a handful of grass fires north and northwest of Emporia on Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews from Emporia, Allen-Admire and Americus were first called out to the 300 block of Road "L" just after 1 pm. Minimal damage was noted.

Emporia Fire Battalion Chief Eron Steinlage says two stumps were still smoking from earlier in the week. They threw embers into areas burned by a much larger grass fire Thursday.

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Fire crews were then called out to Roads 310 and "G" for a separate grass fire around 3:40 pm.

Emporia, Allen-Admire, Americus, Dunlap, Miller and Reading firefighters responded along with Lyon County deputies and Emergency Management. Americus Assistant Fire Chief Bill West calls the cooperation between agencies "exceptional."

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About 100 acres burned, but there were no injuries and no structures damaged. The cause is under investigation.

The wind conditions Saturday were similar, but the results were vastly different from what happened Thursday afternoon in the same general vicinity. Firefighters from eight jurisdictions in three counties battled windy conditions and little available water on-site for over three hours after a grass fire developed near Roads 310 and "J." Around 1,800 acres of grass was burned and two buildings were destroyed Thursday.

Wind gusts were between 40 and 50 mph both days. The KVOE studios reported a 41 mph gust shortly before 12:30 pm Saturday. Other recorded wind speeds:

Emporia Municipal Airport: 48 mph
Coffey County Airport: 48 mph
Matfield Green area: 47 mph

Sunday should be breezy, but not nearly to the level of Saturday. Wind gusts could be as high as 30 mph Sunday and again Monday, so the fire danger will remain high until we see significant moisture. That may not happen for at least a week.

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3:15 pm: Fire crews handle fires near 300 and "L"

Firefighters from three Lyon County departments battled a handful of small grass fires Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews from Emporia, Allen-Admire and Americus were called out to the 300 block of Road "L" just after 1 pm.

Minimal damage has been reported so far.

1:20 pm: Fire crews again called out to Roads 300 and "L"

Lyon County fire crews are heading to an area between Emporia and Allen for the second time in three days to fight a grass fire.

Fire was reported at 3029 Road "L" just after 1 pm. This is very close to where Thursday's grass fire originated, burning 1,800 acres of grass and destroying two buildings before it was put out.

Currently, Emporia and Americus crews have been called out. Eight fire departments from three counties battled the Thursday blaze for over three hours in windy, dry conditions.

Wind advisories cover Lyon, Coffey, Morris, Osage and Wabaunsee counties until 6 pm. Chase and Greenwood counties are in a red flag warning until 6 pm. Winds are expected as high as 45 mph, and the KVOE studios have reported a peak gust of 41 mph shortly before 12:30 pm.

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