Smoke drifting into the Salina area Wednesday afternoon is from three large grass fires in Rice County, and a controlled burn at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range.
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer made an emergency declaration for the Rice County fires. Officials were deploying Black Hawk helicopters to aid in the response.
The Smoky Hill Weapons Range was doing a controlled burn on the west side of its property in Saline County. The remainder of Saline County remains in a burn ban, which does not include the federal property of the range.
Additionally, Saline County Fire Fighters were on the scene of a grass fire along Interstate 70, in the area of Mile Post 238 several miles west of Salina near the Brookville exit.
Sheriff Roger Soldan tells KSAL News that a 2012 Dodge truck driven by Shelby Reppel of Evans, Colorado had a mechanical issue and pulled over. “The vehicle sparked the fire immediately,” Soldan said.
Saline County Rural Fire District#3, RFD 7, RFD 6, RFD 2 and CK Ranch all responded. Deputies say the fire consumed about 100 acres of grass on land owned by Brett Robbins.
Smoke from the fires was drifting through portions of Rice, McPherson, Saline and Dickinson Counties.
(Video from Jeremy Diehl)