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Smoke From Wildfire Dies Down, Emergency Crews Survey Damage

Update from The AP:

Friday March 25, 10:15 a.m.

A Kansas livestock official says the wildfire that scorched hundreds of square miles in Oklahoma and southern Kansas has displaced cattle and destroyed miles of fencing.

Todd Domer, spokesman for the Kansas Livestock Association, said Friday the most immediate problem for Kansas ranchers affected by the fire in Barber and Comanche counties is locating cattle that escaped when fences burned. He says ranchers are also working to figure out how many cattle may have died.

The KLA is raising funds to help replace the fencing, which he estimates covered tens of thousands of miles. He says hay donations have been so swift and numerous there's no longer a need.

Domer also says there would also have been a lot of newborn calves this time of year that may have either been separated from their mothers or been killed in the fire.


Original Story:

Conditions are reportedly improving in areas of south central Kansas that have been affected by a massive wildfire. Winds are beginning to die down, allowing emergency crews to survey the damage.

Emergency responders say an active wildfire has destroyed nearly 400,000 acres of rural land in Kansas and Oklahoma, where the fire originated nearly 48 hours ago.

Two homes and two bridges were destroyed in Barber County. Cattle have also been lost, and several firefighters sustained minor injuries.

Credit Kansas Highway Patrol
An aerial photograph of a wildfire in south central Kansas

Barber County Attorney Gaten Wood says the emergency response has been swift, with dozens of agencies working together, many of whom are volunteers.

“The response was overwhelming," Wood says. "We were so happy that firefighters and law enforcement personnel have worked together as well as they have.”

The wildfire is still active, but government officials say areas in Comanche County are under control, and conditions elsewhere have also improved.

The Red Cross has set up two emergency shelters in the region.

Below is a map of the area in Barber County affected by a large wildfire

Credit Kansas Highway Patrol


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The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.