(RILEY COUNTY, KS - March 7, 2022) At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, Riley County Fire District #1 (RCFD #1) was dispatched to the 6400 block of North 52nd Street, near Sedalia Community Church, for reports of an outside fire. A total of 15 firefighters and 12 apparatus from RCFD #1 responded to the scene. RCFD#1 requested mutual aid from the Manhattan Fire Department because multiple structures were threatened. A red flag warning was in effect, and indicates extreme fire danger with warm temperatures, very low humidity, and strong winds. Winds gusted in excess of 45 mph on Saturday.
Fire crews responded aggressively and were able to contain the fire within an hour. An estimated 40 acres consisting mostly of were burned. No injuries were reported and no structures were lost. Damages to fences, outdoor equipment, and the exterior of one outbuilding are estimated to total $7,500.
During the fire, thick smoke obscured vision for drivers on Tuttle Creek Boulevard. The Riley County Police Department responded and helped direct traffic until the smoke cleared.
“The coordination between MFD, RCPD, and RCFD personnel represented excellent teamwork and made a huge difference in the outcome,” said Deputy Fire Chief John Martens. “This fire threatened several structures and could have destroyed homes if it got away from us. I am proud of the work we all did and grateful for the support from each agency.”
The cause of the fire was unintentional and has been traced to a homemade potato launcher used in the area.
“Thankfully, the snow will give us a bit of a break, but this fire season is going to be dangerous,” said Martens. “I recommend people take action now to clear dry materials away from their homes and outbuildings. A little prevention can go a long way.”
More information about how to protect your home in a wildfire is available from the National Fire Protection Association at https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Preparing-homes-for-wildfire
The mission of Riley County Fire District #1 is to provide superior fire protection, operational excellence, and professionalism through all areas of our organization. The department’s ability to meet this goal is heavily supported by everyday individuals who help by answering the call to aid neighbors in need through volunteerism, commitment, and dedication. Follow Riley County Fire District #1 on Facebook at RCFD1 and on Twitter at RileyCoFire.