Weekend Grassfire Acreage In The Thousands, Winfield Fire Marshal Says


Updated: Tuesday, 11:10 a.m.

Approximately 2,000 acres burned on the Kansas side of the state line near Cedar Vale over the weekend, according to Winfield Fire Marshal Chad Mayberry.

Mayberry told Cowley Post Tuesday morning it was an exceptionally busy weekend for area firefighters but cautioned Tuesday’s conditions are perhaps more nerve-racking than they were last Friday.

“The concern today is higher temperatures and lower humidity,” he said.

Friday night, Mayberry estimated 3,000 acres burned south of Silverdale. He added the fires over the weekend originated on the Oklahoma side of the state line.

No injuries or occupied structures were damaged, however Cowley County Fire District IV reported the loss of a shed near Udall.

Mayberry said after 1 p.m. Friday, Winfield firefighters were dispatched to five calls within a 7-minute time span and that from 1-3 p.m. that afternoon, crews responded to 13 different incidents.

The National Weather Service out of Wichita also alerted WFD, via hot spots detected via satellite.

From Monday:

All hands were on deck over the weekend for grassfires near the Kansas/Oklahoma border.

High winds and dry conditions elevated the region under a fire weather watch all last week.

Numerous grass fires were reported, including northern Kay County and the Cedar Vale area that alerted fire departments and volunteer forces from all across south central Kansas and north central Oklahoma.

There have been no reports of injuries or major structure damage. An official total of acreage burned has not yet been made available.

An air tanker from the Kansas Forest Service was called to help fight the Cedar Vale fires. It refueled at Strother Field.

The Cedar Vale grass fire originated in Oklahoma, according to the Winfield Fire Department.

“The fire originated from a control burn that was conducted near Grainola, Oklahoma on Saturday,” the Winfield Fire/EMS Facebook page reported. “Previously, we responded to a large fire on Friday afternoon that originated from a previous control burn.”

Winfield Fire/EMS stressed caution during dry, fire watch conditions.

“We recommend that landowners be cognizant of the weather forecast and strongly discourage conducting control burns on days with forecasted high fire danger on the following day,” the fire department said. “In Cowley County our burn permit process is set up with three levels of burn status.

“On Level 1 days, burn permits are issued through Cowley County Emergency Communications. On Level 2 days, permission must be obtained from the fire district that the fire will be conducted in due to this being considered days that it is marginally safe to conduct open burning. On Level 3 days, burn permits are not issued.”

Chip Redmond of the Kansas Forest Service said in a Facebook Watch video posted Monday morning that the fire weather risk for the region is still very present.