Grass fire erupts

Gale Rose
Thick clouds of smoke rise from a fire in a CRP field belonging to Bob and Ann Ogle. The fire started from a spark in a burn barrel on the adjoining C.L. Meigs property. Some grass in the old Saratoga Cemetery in the foreground was also burned.

Dry grass, a Kansas breeze and a burn barrel combined to ignite a grass fire in a subdivision south of Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Headquarters just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

C.L. Meigs was using a burn barrel on his property and had safety screens in place on the top of the barrel. Meigs said he went inside his home for a few minutes. An ember escaped and caught the grass on fire by the barrel. Wind pushed the fire and it quickly spread to the adjoining CRP field belonging to Bob and Ann Ogle. The Ogle field was just a few feet from the burn barrel.

The fire was spreading quickly down a fence row and across the tall CRP field as the wind pushed fire and smoke southwest towards the Ogle home.

Fire units from Township 12, Pratt County Fire and Rescue and from the Sawyer Fire district responded to the call and began attacking the fire on several sides while focusing on the area next to the Ogle home.

Units quickly put out the fire by a shed at the Meigs residence. The fire reached the shed that was close to the burn barrel but caused very little, if any, damage to the structure. Grass on the Meigs property had been cut very short.

Several acres of CRP grass and evergreen trees were burned in the fire but no buildings or other property were damaged in the fire. There were no injuries. Firefighters were on scene for over an hour as they made several trips around the burn area and soaked the ground to sure all the hot spots were out.