ALEXANDER — A large grass fire charred an estimated 300 acres Thursday just south of this small Rush County town with an estimated population of less than 70.
No inhabited homes were damaged, and no one suffered injuries in the blaze, which likely was caused by a downed power line, said Jim Fisher, Rush County’s emergency management coordinator.
The fire likely originated from an abandoned farmstead that still had power running to a house that was used only for storage, Fisher said.
“It appears the wind either blew (a powerline) down or a tree limb knocked the power line down, and it started off a downed power line,” he said.
The structure sustained damage, but was not destroyed.
The fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. and had been mostly contained by 6:30, though crews remained on the scene through Thursday night battling flare-ups. By 4 a.m. Friday, the fire was declared extinguished, though volunteer firefighters in Alexander remained on stand-by.
The fire was west of county road 120 and the Kansas Highway 96 intersection. Both roads were closed for about an hour Thursday afternoon due to severely reduced visibility from the smoke.
Much of the region is under a red-flag warning for extreme fire danger due to dry and windy conditions.
“We’re still under it today,” Fisher said Friday. “It is dry, and that grass is thick and heavy and bone dry. Everybody needs to be really careful of what they’re doing.”
County firefighters from La Crosse, Rush Center, Alexander and McCracken responded, as well as from Bazine and Ness City in neighboring Ness County.
“The fire departments from both counties did an excellent job in containing it, and I really admire them,” he said.