The Ellis County Rural Fire Department battled two large fires north of Hays near the Horse Thief Canyon area Thursday afternoon and early evening.

The rugged terrain and approaching nightfall had multiple firefighters from several jurisdictions converging to battle the fires.

“It was difficult at first because of the terrain,” said Darin Myers, Ellis County Rural fire chief and emergency manager.

Units from Ellis County, Rooks County and Russell County helped battle the fires. The public works department also aided with tanker trucks and a grader.

Myers said crews battled the fires for nearly four-and-a-half hours.

He said it is believed the fires were started by a person hauling a bale and it catching on fire. The second fire ignited when the bale was dumped in the road, but Myers said he hadn’t heard confirmation this morning.

One fire burned less than 200 acres, and the other burned approximately 150 acres.

Myers said firefighters were given a quick reprieve as Red Cross and Ellis County EMS employees offered food and drink to those battling the blazes.