Multiple Grass Fires Near Wichita

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BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE)-- Fire crews from several agencies were busy all Sunday afternoon battling a string of grass fires. Most sparked along K-254 in western Butler and Eastern Sedgwick counties. It was a sixteen mile stretch from El Dorado to Greenwich Rd. in Wichita.

They started around 1 p.m. and continued into the early evening hours. At least 8 grass fires took off along the north side of the roadway on K-254. Residents said they feared how far it would spread.

"I saw the fire and the smoke and naturally I became concerned right away," said Teresa Brown.

Butler County dispatchers said a witness reported seeing a lit barbeque grill in the back of a pick up in the area where the fires happened. That's not confirmed, but fire crews said there's a good chance the string of fires started on the road.

"Obviously someone driving down the road probably started them accidentally as far as we know," said Stewart Segraves of the Sedgwick Co. Fire Dept.

The scariest sight of all the grass fires was a huge fire ball believed to be a tractor engulfed in flames. One resident lost a tractor and a trailer worth an estimated $22,000.

"Fire spreads fast and (one) spread half a mile in a matter of a few minutes and spread out sideways," said Segraves. "It really works our crews and taxes them extremely hard just due to the heat."

Residents said considering how hot, dry and windy the conditions are, these grass fires can start very easily. They said people on the road need to pay attention to what they're leaving behind.

"It's scary and it's kind of irritating," said Brown. "You just don't when it's this windy."

A Sedgwick County Fire supervisor said all of the grass fires have been put out and no residents or firefighters were injured.