Windy, dry conditions lead to several High Plains grass fires Thursday

Feb 26, 2017

Smoke blackens the sky south of Holcomb Thursday, as local fire departments battled a blaze that burned a 1.5-mile wide, 11-mile long swath of land.
Credit Casey Richmeier

Windy and dry conditions proved to be a potent combination for firefighters in southwest Kansas and the Texas Panhandle Thursday.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, grass fires were reported in the Kansas counties of Finney, Haskell and Gray County throughout the day.

The Finney County fire started just before 4 p.m. about five miles south of Holcomb. 50 mph wind gusts drove the fire south, close to the Haskell County line. 

Flames and smoke from a grass fire that burned south of Holcomb Thursday evening.
Credit Heidi McGraw Henson

Holcomb Fire Chief Bill Knight told the Telegram that fire departments from Holcomb, Garden City, Sublette, Satanta and Lockport Township – as well as several local farmers - assisted with fighting the fire, which aside from a few smoldering patches, was out by  8:30 Thursday night.

Knight told High Plains Public Radio Friday that the burn path was about one and a half  miles wide and 11 miles long.

He said the cause of the fire was undetermined as of Friday but that it started near a stack of hay bales.

The grass fire in Finney County started just after a grass fire was reported south of Cimarron in Gray County, and a couple of hours after a grass fire 12 miles north of Sublette in Haskell County had been extinguished. 

Fire personnel from Holcomb, Garden City, Sublette, Satanta, and Lockport Township worked to contain a grass fire south of Holcomb Thursday evening.
Credit Holcomb Community Fire Department

Meanwhile, a large grass fire that first flared up in Oldham County near Channing, Texas and spread across Oldham, Moore and Hartley Counties, was contained in the early morning hours Friday.

As ABC 7 of Amarillo reports, a voluntary evacuation was issued Thursday night for residents near the area of the fire, which burned more than 7,000 acres of land. There were no injuries and no lost livestock.

The Hartley County Sheriff’s Office told ABC 7 that no structures were affected by the fire either and that the blaze was under control as of 1:30 a.m. Friday.

The Oldham County Office of Emergency Management said many people and agencies helped out with the fire that raged across dry grassland. Those agencies included the Vega Fire Department, Boys Ranch Fire Department, Hartley Fire Department, Channing Fire Department, Potter County Fire Department, Moore County Fire Department, Texas Forest Service, Oldham Country Sheriff's Office and Dispatch, Boys Ranch staff, the National Weather Service in Amarillo, Amarillo Potter/Randall OEM, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the MACC.