Kansas Wildfire, Still Ablaze, Costs $1 Million So Far

by | March 28, 2016

By Gabriella Dunn

The wildfire in Barber County was declared 81 percent controlled on Sunday evening, according to officials.

The remaining 19 percent not contained refers to sporadic hot spots within nearly half the county. The fire has burned nearly 400,000 acres in two states. The fire started Tuesday in Oklahoma and spread to Kansas.

Snowfall on Sunday morning helped firefighters gain more control over the fire, authorities said.

Gaten Wood, an attorney and agency administrator for Barber County, said crews would begin leaving the county on Monday. He said he expects the full transition to take about five days.

Wood said firefighters in Barber County will continue to monitor the burned area to make sure hot spots in canyons don't reignite with the warming weather.

Damage estimates from the fire have not yet been tallied, but Wood said the cost of resources from fire departments outside the county and the use of Black Hawk helicopters to dump water on the fire has mounted to more than $1 million. That number does not include Barber County's costs or some state costs.

It also does not include damaged or destroyed property, including farmland.

(c)2016 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)