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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Trash fires get out of control

  • Extra caution needed for dry conditions.
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  • Extremely dry conditions played a part in three trash fires that got out of control in less than 24 hours in Pratt County over the weekend.
    The first fire was Saturday afternoon at the Hacker residence on SW 90th Avenue about four miles east of Coats.
    The family was burning trash in a burn pit when the wind blew burning debris into some tall grass south of the residence, said Jennie Hacker.
    The wind quickly pushed the fire south of the residence and it spread out across a field and headed for a railroad trestle.
    The fire burned its way up the railroad right of way and eventually set fire to some of the ties on the trestle bridge. A Township 12 truck pulled into the ditch by the trestle and sprayed the fire using a hose and nozzle on the front of the truck to put out the fire on the bridge.
    Even though the wind was light, it still pushed the fire through the tall, dry grass very quickly. The Pratt County area is in the midst of a drought that covers much of the middle of the country and has not had substantial rain in many months.
    Firefighters from Coats, Sawyer and Township 12 responded to the fire and made many trips around the burn area to get the fire under control and get all the hot spots out.
    Firefighters were just finishing with hot spots on that fire when Township 12 got another call of a lawn fire at a residence at the Vasholtz residence at SE 30th Street and 70th Avenue.
    A fire in a trash barrel had spread to very short buffalo grass on the lawn and had damaged the water pump for the house so no water was available to put out the fire.
    Firefighters quickly had the fire out that burned a little grass, did some damage to some trees and the water pump.
    Early Sunday afternoon another trash fire at the Dustin Newby residence at 269 NW 10th Avenue got away from the burn barrel, traveled under some boards and finally got into some tall grass on the north side of the house.
    The fire burned up to the driveway of the adjoining property and threatened some hay bales but caused no damage to that property.
    Township 12 firefighters quickly had that fire contained and spent several minutes making sure the hot spots were all out.
    The family used garden hoses and the built in sprinkler system to help reduce the fire damage.
    The only damage at the fire was burned grass and damage to two evergreen trees.
    In each case, the wind was not blowing very hard but the extremely dry conditions mixed with burning bits of debris were enough to get the fires out of control.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pratt County currently has no burn ban in place but all residents are urged to take extreme caution when doing any controlled burning.
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