A wildfire northeast of Ellis quickly grew out of control Tuesday afternoon, distancing nearly 5 miles before crews from several counties brought it under control.
One firefighter was injured and taken to Hays Medical Center, but has since been released, according to a release from Darin Myers, Ellis County Rural Fire and Emergency Management director.
The fire danger will continue today and Thursday, with temperatures forecast in the 80s along with gusty winds and low humidity, prompting the National Weather Service to issue red flag warnings for both days.
Tuesday’s fire started near 150th Avenue and Severin Road shortly after 1 p.m., about 11.6 miles northeast of Ellis, near where a construction company was working on its equipment, according to Myers.
Pushed by gusty northeasterly winds and tall, dry grass, the fire traveled through rugged terrain with limited road access between St. John-St. Andrew and Buckeye roads.
The flames were brought under control after 6 p.m. near Yocemento Avenue, about 4.5 miles from the starting point.
Mutual aid came from Ness, Trego, Graham, Rooks and Russell counties and the Hays Fire Department, with the Red Cross, and Ellis County Sheriff, Public Works and EMS providing assistance. Area farmers and businesses also brought equipment and water.
The National Weather Service in Dodge City has issued a red flag warning for fire danger from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and Thursday for an area that includes Ellis and Rush counties.
Winds are forecast at 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph today, and for Thursday at 25 to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph, the warning said.
Humidity levels as low as 11 percent, temperatures in the 80s and continued drought elevates the fire danger, according to the weather service.