Investigation continues into significant grass fire

Two buildings are now listed as destroyed and close to 2,000 acres of grass and timber burned as part of a fire about 10 miles north of Emporia on Thursday.

Fire developed near Roads 310 and "J" around 2 pm and rapidly spread to the south, according to Sheriff Jeff Cope.

{wbty_audio audio_id="1937" audio_title="Cope: High winds set stage for long afternoon"}

Numerous fire districts, including Emporia, Americus, Allen-Admire, Chase County, Council Grove, Dunlap and Reading battled both high winds, the lack of available water on site and several rapidly-developing fire lines for over three hours before the winds died down, letting them gain the upper hand.

No injuries were reported. Cope credited the fire departments, Lyon County deputies and Lyon County Emergency Management for working together on the fire.

{wbty_audio audio_id="1938" audio_title="Cope: Cooperation key during complicated situations like this"}

Rancher Brian Keith agreed, even though he lost 500 to 600 acres of grass he was planning to burn later.

{wbty_audio audio_id="1939" audio_title="Keith: Thank you to all who helped"}

Officials now say the cause of the fire is under investigation. The initial thought was a tree stump cut earlier this week near 310 and "J" likely threw an ember to start the fire. A barn and outbuilding near that corner were destroyed.

The fire at one point covered parts of a better than four-square mile area from 310 south to between 280 and 290 and from "J" to "L" west to east. 

5:15 pm: Roads closed as firefighters continue battle

Multiple fire lines are now present, and Road "L" in northern Lyon County is closed between Roads 290 and 310, due to a grassfire in progress.

Fire crews from Americus, Admire, Miller, Reading, Dunlap, Council Grove and Emporia, as well as Deputies and Lyon County Emergency Management are currently at the intersection of Roads 310 and "J" working the blaze. The fire was first reported shortly before 2pm. Scanner traffic indicated the fire was out of control, and growing with the high winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour Thursday. A large plume of smoke is rising from this fire, which has grown up to 4 square miles.

A second fire near Road C and Highway 50 started around 2:30pm, but has been extinguished by Emporia fire crews. A lack of available water is hampering firefighters' efforts to keep the blaze under control. Steady high winds are also causing problems.

A red flag warning is in effect for Chase and Greenwood counties until 6pm. A wind advisory is in effect until 7pm for Lyon and surrounding counties.

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