What can be done to prevent future wildfires in Kansas?
RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – This is not the first time firefighters have been called to the area of the Cottonwood Complex fire in the past month.
Three large wildfires broke out in a short time, leaving fire crews busy in the area.
The Hutchinson Fire Department chief said more needs to be done to prevent devastating fires from happening again in the future.
“At the time we had around Hutch, I was told, there was only pasture,” said chef Steven Beer. “They were maintained, and we just had nice short pasture grass, and we didn’t have all these cedars and everything we’re dealing with right now.”
Leaders across the state are now exploring possible changes in hopes of stopping a spark from spreading.
“There had been a very good chance, if the brush and cedars had been cleared from their property, and had good access to that property, that they wouldn’t have suffered as much,” Reno County said. Commissioner Ron Hirst. “Now I know that’s hard for me to say, but realistically that’s what we hear.”
On March 22, the Reno County Emergency Manager will present recommendations to the commissioners. It will be about land management, planning and zoning and the sheriff’s office’s ability to enforce regulations in hopes of preventing a fire like this in the future.
“By the time we get the final recommendations, some of us may have already forgotten, and so this is a long-term effort, and we shouldn’t forget how we feel today when we do this. work in the future,” said Daniel Friesen, Reno County Commissioner.
Some commissioners have expressed concern about the strict enforcement of cedar removal.
“Homeowners have rights, and I don’t think the government necessarily has the right to tell people how to develop their property,” Reno County Commissioner Ron Hirst said.
The Reno County Commission Chairman said Tuesday, March 8, that they will likely add a burning ban for the rest of the month, but any other changes will take longer.