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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Weekend blazes keep firefighters busy

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  • Little fires kept Pratt firefighters busy the past few days and emphasized that fire danger is not just in the countryside.
    A call Monday morning at the Kanza Co-op office building turned out to be faulty electrical ballast in a light in a former walk-in safe, said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer.
    The ballast malfunctioned and caused a lot of smoke but nothing caught fire, said Randy Dowling, Kanza Co-op manager.
    Firefighters used fans to clear the smoke and the office was back in business in about a half hour.
    About 1 a.m. Monday firefighters were summoned to an address on Meadow Lark Lane and found a brush pile on fire.
    The pile was on the south side of the property and firefighters had to lay hose a long distance to get to the fire. The fire was quickly extinguished.
    A lot of dead cheat grass was in the area and it burns very fast so the fire could have covered a much bigger area, Kramer said.
    Late Sunday afternoon, children playing with fireworks started a very small grass fire on the north side of Lemon Park.
    Kramer said a woman had seen children throwing firecrackers in the area just before the started.
    Fireworks were also a possible cause of a small grass fire late Friday afternoon in a grassy area on the east side of Central Truck on North Main in Pratt.
    Again, firefighters had this small fire out quickly and spent several minutes making sure all the hot spots were watered down.
    The area has recently gotten rain showers. While that got grass and weeds wet, the moisture quickly evaporated and now a lot of fuel is available for fires.
    Residents are reminded that it is illegal to discharge fireworks inside the Pratt City limits.
    Township firefighters have also had a few fires recently and the fire danger is very high in the county, said Mark McManaman, Township 12 Fire Chief.
    While shooting fireworks in the county is legal, the county has a lot more fire potential with wheat stubble fields, dead cheat grass and CRP so it's important to follow some safety rules: wear eye protection, shoot on sandy or concrete areas, no fireworks on public roads or within 50 feet of a fireworks stand.
    Discarding smoking materials can easily start fires. The wind can carry a discarded cigarette or match a long distance and start a fire that can spread quickly.
    When in a vehicle use the ashtray and if outside make sure the smoking materials are completely out.
    Wheat stubble and dried grass can go right up to buildings so it is vital to make sure to be safe with fireworks, burning trash, using a cutting torch or grinding tool, barbecue grills or any controlled burn.
    Page 2 of 2 - Also, removing the gunpowder from a fireworks original container is illegal and dangerous.
    If a fire should happen, get everyone clear and call the local fire district.
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