UPDATE: Fire Burning Thousands of Acres

The Latest on a wildfire in Kansas and Oklahoma

8:20 a.m.

A wildfire has reignited in a Kansas county where it was briefly brought under control.

Comanche County Emergency Management coordinator John Lehman says crews have been sent back out Thursday morning to resume the firefight. The blaze had been under control Wednesday night.

Lehman says the blaze reignited when winds blew embers onto unburnt land. He says that once embers hit dry grass, “away it goes.” He says crews are fighting a mile-long moving fire line.

The fire has claimed about 37 square miles in the county after starting Tuesday near the Kansas border in Oklahoma, and has burned a further 280 square miles in neighboring Barber County.


6:45 a.m.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling a 30 to 40 mile line of fire in a rural Barber County in southern Kansas that has already lost 280 square miles of land to the wildfire.

Kansas Incident Management Team spokeswoman Darcy Golliher said Thursday that she doesn’t know how much land has burned in neighboring Comanche County, where the fire is now under control, nor in nearby Oklahoma, where the blaze started Tuesday.

She says the Kansas State Highway Patrol will fly over Thursday afternoon to evaluate the damage.

No one is hurt, but one home has burned.

Strong winds have complicated the firefight. The National Weather Service says 25 mph winds are forecast in the area until noon, when they are expected to drop to 15 mph. Gusts of 45 to 50 mph were reported Wednesday.

1:20 a.m.

Authorities say a wildfire in south-central Kansas still poses a threat but that conditions are improving in the two counties most affected.

Ben Bauman, director of public affairs for the Kansas Department of the Adjutant General, said in a statement early Thursday that the fires in Comanche County are under control. Fires in adjacent Barber County have improved but are still being monitored.

Bauman says the fire went around the town of Medicine Lodge, where authorities had said earlier that up to 1,000 structures were threatened. One home and outbuilding were destroyed on the outskirts of town.

The fire started in an Oklahoma border county Tuesday and moved into Kansas. It has burned nearly 110 square miles. Gov. Sam Brownback has declared a state of disaster emergency for some areas, authorizing state resources to assist.



KIOWA, Kan. (AP) – Authorities say a wildfire that started in Oklahoma and spread into Kansas has burned tens of thousands of acres of rural land.

The National Weather Service says the fire started Tuesday night near the Kansas border in Woods County, Oklahoma. Wind gusts of up to 30 mph helped spread the blaze into Barber and Comanche counties in western Kansas.

Forecasters say parts of New Mexico and Texas also are at risk for wildfires.

Comanche County emergency management coordinator John Lehman says the fire has burned about 38,000 acres in the sparsely populated county. No injuries have been reported. It wasn’t immediately known how much land had burned in Oklahoma and Kansas’ Barber County.

Lehman says about 65 firetrucks and hundreds of firefighters are helping to gradually contain the blaze.