Thousands of livestock are estimated to have been killed in the wildfire that spanned two counties along Kansas’ southern border in early March, but the actual numbers likely will not be totaled for some time.
One person died in the blaze that burned more than 1,000 square miles, mostly in Clark and Comanche. Thousands of animals perished or have been euthanized, according to Kansas State University Research and Extension.
The Associated Press reported that in Clark County alone, ranchers so far have lost about 2,500 adult cattle and at least 1,000 calves, according to Randall Spare, co-owner of Ashland Veterinary Center.
On March 9, the Kansas Adjudant General’s Office estimated that approximately 626,000 acres across the state had burned in blazes that began on March 4. The AGO’s office said that figure could rise.
Clark and Comanche Counties account for approximately 502,000 of those acres, setting a record for the most widespread single fire in the state. The office of Gov. Sam Brownback reported that 85 percent of the Clark County’s land mass has burned.
The previous record was 312,427 acres burned in Barber and Comanche Counties during the Anderson Creek fire of 2016.
By March 9, fires in Clark, Comanche, Reno and Rooks Counties were being contained, but officials with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management cautioned that fire danger still exists in part of Kansas due to low humidity and a low dew point.
On March 5, Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of disaster emergency due to the wildfires. Executive order 17-01 allowed for the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials and other relief supplies by waiving certain motor carrier regulations.