At least 10 fire departments battled a large grass fire Thursday afternoon in Lyon County, that started in the area of Road 200 and Y and spread rapidly.
According to the Lyon County Sheriff's Office, Lyon County Deputies and Lyon County Emergency Management assisted fire crews from Reading, Miller, Admire, Neosho Rapids/Hartford, Lebo, Americus, Waverley and Emporia Fire Department. The grass fire in the area of Road 200 and Road Y also spread into Coffey County. Kansas Highway Patrol and their aviation unit assisted as well and Riley County Fire Department also provided resources. Crews starting battling the fire around 2:30 p.m.
Close to 4,000 acres had burned in the fire as of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Rick Frevert, Lyon County Emergency Management. The Reading fire department lost a fire truck and ATV in the fire.
The Lyon County Sheriff's Office posted an update on Twitter around 7:15 p.m. that stated: "Fire crews continue to battle fire which is mostly in Osage County now. Crews will more than likely be on scene into the night."
There was a second fire that developed after 4 p.m. at 818 Road 140, which is south of Emporia. The fire involved a house and other structures and vehicles on scene. Emporia Fire and Olpe Fire Departments worked on scene.
Emporia Fire Chief Jack Taylor said when they got the call for the fire they already had a lot of resources at the Road 200 fire.
"On the way we learned there was also a structure involved and a couple of vehicles," Taylor said. "We had a two-story structure that was involved in fire and there was a pick-up and tractor in back and a couple of outbuildings."
Taylor said Emporia and Lyon County fire crews are stretched to the max with recent fires. They had to use recruits to help fight the structure fire.
"that's how thin we are — we brought recruits out to help fight this fire," he said. "We're stretched to the max. We're doing the best we can to help each other …"
The Gazette will have more on this story when details are released.