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Frevert: 'Fire chasing' poses increased risks for emergency workers, residents, thrill-seekers

The Flint Hills are bone dry well ahead of the normal grass fire season.

This concerns local authorities, and not just for the immediate fire danger itself. Lyon County Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Frevert is seeing signs of a new activity -- fire chasing -- which could pose a significant health hazard to chasers, emergency personnel and others trying to get around potential fires.

 

Fire chasing appears to be an extension of storm chasing, which has led to a deeper understanding of tornado development and movement -- but has also seen chasers fail to yield to emergency vehicles, ignore law enforcement and clog potential escape routes.

Frevert says there are no plans for any county-wide policy changes at this time.

Frevert says people need to think about what emergency responders have to consider when they head to fires, such as the one Thursday between Emporia and Allen. The fire that originated near Roads 310 and "J" burned around 1,800 acres over a better than four-square mile area, forcing eight fire departments from three counties to fight multiple fire lines for over three hours in windy conditions.

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