Deja Vu: Rekindling Fires Keep Fire Crews Busy

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - If Shawnee Heights fire crews felt a bit like they'd been there before as they headed to calls Monday, it's because they likely had.

Batallion Chief Scott Price said most of the calls his department dealt with Monday were not new fires, but fires that rekindled from the weekend. Among them was a fire at 7045 SE 61st St. that came within 50 feet of a house.

"If they've got those compost piles, if they've got those leaf piles that they burn, that heavy timber, you have to stir it up," Price said. "You have to make sure you have plenty of water deep into those piles otherwise it's going to dry out on top and it's going to start blowing again, blowing embers on the dry grass."

Price says the Shawnee Heights Fire Dept. has averaged 15 to 20 grass fire calls a day since mid-March. So far, there has been little damage to buildings, but he says wood mulch, vegetation and wood piles close to homes or other structures can increase the risk of damage. He also advised people who conduct controlled burns to carefully inspect roofs of structures afterward for signs of smoke, as embers can get underneath shingles and smolder.