Officials Raise the Number of Homes Destroyed in Kansas Wildfire

March 30, 2016

The biggest wildfire in Kansas history has been largely contained, but authorities said more homes were damaged than originally thought.

The Kansas Adjutant General’s Office said that nine Barber County homes were destroyed in the fire, which started in Oklahoma last week before moving north into Kansas. No one has been seriously injured.

Earlier estimates showed anywhere from two to six homes were destroyed in the county, which suffered the most damage in Kansas.

Oklahoma Forestry Services estimated the total burn area between the two states at 574 square miles. The agency earlier estimated the size of the fire at 620 square miles.

The Kansas Forest Service says the fire was 90 percent contained Sunday, and 81 percent contained in Barber County by Monday.

Kansas crews are continuing to patrol the wildfire.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Hannah Anderson said crews also will continue to patrol and monitor the fire line there and work on putting out any hot spots.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Hutchinson News reports that ranchers in Barber County, which has more cattle than people, have begun recovery efforts.

The aftermath of fire is visible on David Johnson’s Deerhead Ranch. About 50 cows and countless calves didn’t make it out of the fire’s way, and many of those that did have scorched hair.

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