Burn ban in place

BELOIT –   At 8 a.m., this morning (Wednesday, March 7, 2018) the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners announced a ban on all open burning in the county effective immediately.

Mitchell County Emergency Management Director Rick Horn said the burn ban will remain in effect until further notice and commissioners will revisit the burn ban once weather conditions improve.

“No outside burning is permitted under the active burn ban in Mitchell County,” Horn said.

The ban follows after several fires took place on Monday and Tuesday as several counties in Kansas experienced high winds of gust of up to 60 miles per hour and low humidity conditions during one of the worst critical risk days for fires causing Red Flag Warnings. Winds started dying down in the evening and today's forecast of sunny skies, temperatures of 49 degrees still contain 15-20 mph winds with gusts as high as 25 mph presenting near critical fire weather conditions, expected across north central Kansas this afternoon for Phillips, Smith, Jewell, Rooks, Osborne and Mitchell counties.   

An estimated 25,000 acres burned on Tuesday as fires swept across Kansas. Several highways were closed for a short time as smoke filled the air causing zero visibility. Twenty one fires were reported.

The M.C.O. Rural Fire District No. 1 was called to a fire on Monday just a half mile north of Bohemian Hall in Ottawa county. The fire that burned close to 100 acres of mostly pasture land, was started by a downed power line from the wind. The broken pole landed on tree limbs that sparked the fire before 1 p.m. Glasco, Delphos and Ada Rural fire departments all helped contain the fire around 4:30 p.m. and the line was repaired.

"We were lucky there were some wheat fields to the east of the pasture land to keep the fire down," said M.C.O. Fire Chief Larry Heidrick. "There was one corn stubble field but it had been knocked down by cattle. A lot of hedge post and fence was burned."

An estimated 10-15,000 gallons of water was easily used to help fight the fire. 

A fire also occurred five miles west of Tipton in Osborne on Tuesday but no information was available at the time of this publication. 

Two Kansas Army National Guard Blackhawks were deployed to Ellis county to help fight a major wildfire on Tuesday, according to Kansas Division of Emergency Management. The town of Catherine, northeast of Hays, was threatened to be evacuated before the wind changed to help firefighters containment efforts. 

Traffic from Interstate 70 was diverted or stopped near Hays. Another 1,5000 to 2,000 acres in Clark county burned  before being contained as well as acres in Reno and Sedgwick counties.

Thursday's forecast for Mitchell county includes a high near 52 degrees with northeast winds of 5-10 mph. Friday is forecast for a high near 67 with 5 mph winds. A 30 percent chance of rain before noon is forecast on Saturday with a high near 63 degrees. 

Let the water rain down!

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