Crews from multiple fire departments are on the scene of an active grass fire north and east of Hays near Interstate 70 and Commerce Parkway.
The blaze was reported at approximately 11 a.m. and a section of Interstate 70 is closed due to reduced visibility. The public is urged to avoid the area.
The fire has crossed Interstate 70 and 27th Street. Reports have been received that North Central Kansas Technical College is closing for awhile due to heavy smoke.
Hays High School officials have been in contact with emergency responders and are keeping an eye on the situation. As of Tuesday afternoon, the school was not believed to be in any potential danger due to the direction the wind was blowing, said board clerk Sarah Wasinger. The school had notified students' parents and guardians that the situation was being monitored.
A second fire was reported Tuesday afternoon near Toulon Avenue and Homestead. Wind speeds topped 40 mph, creating a dangerous fire situation and rapidly pushing the flames south. Air support has been called in to assist firefighters on the ground, and several county fire departments have come to assist Ellis County volunteers.
A third fire was reported at approximately 12:30 p.m. in Hays city limits near the intersection of 21st and Oak. Through-traffic was temporarily blocked on Oak between 19th and 20th and 20th between Pine and Oak. A small section of charred grass was visible from the street near a residence.
This is a developing situation. Watch HDNews.net for more details as they become available.