Grassfire Sets New Record for Destruction

Kansas has set a new record, one it never hoped to see and never hopes to surpass.

As of March 8, more than 502,000 acres have burned in Clark County (351,000-400,000 acres) and Comanche County (approximately 151,000 acres), making it the most widespread single fire on record for the state. For comparison, the Anderson Creek fire of 2016 burned some 312,427 acres in Barber and Comanche Counties.

Since March 4, large grassfires have been reported in 23 counties, consuming more than 650,000 acres in all and the figure is still climbing. Although most of the fires have been contained, fires are still burning in Clark, Comanche, Ellis, Reno and Rooks Counties.

Governor Sam Brownback declared a state of disaster emergency at 7:21 p.m. March 5 to expedite state emergency response assistance to affected counties. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka and has staffed it 24/7 to coordinate state response operations.