Images above courtesy of Mike Saft, Graphics Central
The first paragraph of this story is from the news letter of Dr. Roger Marshall, Representative of the First District.
Extremely dry ground conditions, fire and high wind are ingredients of potential disaster which during the week of March 5, 2018 manifest itself in Western, Northwest and North-Central Kansas. Wildfires burned more than 25,000 acres. Soldiers from the Kansas National Guard, using Blackhawk helicopters assisted local firefighters and emergency personnel to control the wild fires to protect human lives, property and livestock.
Smith County firefighters and farmers were a part of that battle as fire was discovered on March 5 at 80 Road one mile north of the Historic Home on the Range Cabin and was burning South and Southeast pushed by West/NW winds of 35-50 mph. The first firefighters on scene went immediately to the area around the Home on the Range Cabin, determined to protect it from damage and destruction. They were successful - the only thing destroyed by the fire were dead trees, weeds and grass. The firefighters were successful in stopping the fire at 90 Road. This was a significant victory also in their preventing it from jumping the Home on the Range Highway (K-8) and endangering occupied houses and farmsteads.
Volunteer firemen from Athol stayed the night of the 5th and at 4:30 am on the 6th battled a flare up. Volunteers from Kensington relieved them on the 6th until they were reasonably sure all hot spots were controlled. Other Fire Departments who were on site to aid in the control of the fire were: from Smith County, Smith Center, Gaylord; from Nebraska, Franklin Bloomington, Naponee and Hildreth. Other units in Smith County, Franklin County and surrounding counties were on standby in the event additional fires broke out.
Fire breaks on cultivated acreage are also very important in the control of wildfire. On-site providing this protection were Chad Ratliff, Cade Maxwell and Tony Blickenstaff with their large tractors and discs.
The Peoples Heartland Foundation who own the Home on the Range Site deeply appreciate the prompt response of the firefighters and volunteers who were determined to protect the Cabin. The Foundation speaks for the hundreds of people who contributed to restore the Cabin and the thousands of Cowboy music fans coast to coast and border to border in the United States and around the World who love our “Home on the Range”.
If you know a firefighter or support person shout out a HOWDY, THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS AND PROTECT YOU.