(RILEY COUNTY, KS – July 28, 2023) At 9:02 a.m., Riley County Fire District #1 (RCFD#1) was dispatched to the 2700 block of Purcell Road north of Manhattan for reports of a brush fire. Upon arrival, crews found flames advancing rapidly through a heavily wooded hillside.
A total of 20 volunteer firefighters from RCFD#1 responded on 8 apparatus. Manhattan Fire Department responded with five personnel and two apparatus to provide fire response and drone support. Riley County Police Department, Kansas Department of Transportation, and Riley County Emergency Medical Services assisted with safety, traffic control, and medical observation of responders.
One southbound lane of Tuttle Creek Blvd was closed temporarily during the fire.
The blaze was contained by 11:15 a.m. and crews remained on scene to monitor conditions and address flare ups. An estimated total of three to five acres burned. No homes or structures were damaged.
A crew from Riley County Emergency Medical Services remained on scene to ensure safety of personnel and volunteers due to extreme heat conditions. No injuries or medical emergencies were reported.
“These were difficult conditions in very steep terrain,” said Deputy Fire Chief John Martens. “The densely packed cedar trees and the abundance of fire fuel made the situation critical. If not for the quick response, this could have been a devastating fire. The dedication of our volunteers, some of whom took time off work to answer the call during the workday, is truly humbling."
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but appears to be accidental. No human involvement is suspected.
To learn more about the department or apply to become a volunteer, visit rileycountyks.gov/fire or call 785-537-6333 during business hours.