Smoke from controlled burn causes two accidents on Kansas highway

Osage smoke highway accident controlled burn
Scene of two accidents on Highway 56 in Kansas, February 18. The photo was taken after visibility had improved somewhat. Photo courtesy of Kansas State Firefighters Association.

Smoke from a controlled burn on February 18 caused two accidents on Highway 56 in Kansas two miles east of the Osage-Lyon county line. The series of accidents began when a truck was hit from behind when it slowed as it entered the smoke and the vehicle in front of it also slowed down.

The second accident happened when other vehicles stopped in the smoke to help those in the first accident. One driver was parked partially in the roadway when she was hit by another vehicle which then kept moving and hit two pedestrians who were helping one of the drivers in the first accident. After injuring the pedestrians the vehicle then hit another car.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office that provided the above information reported that three people were transported to hospitals and five vehicles were damaged.

Dan Romine, Chief of Osage County Fire District #2, said the smoke across the highway was a lot worse than shown in the photo above when his fire department first arrived on scene.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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4 thoughts on “Smoke from controlled burn causes two accidents on Kansas highway”

  1. Don’t ever slow down below the posted speed limit, even in smoke or fog. In fact, go faster and you’ll get thru it sooner.
    Works for icy road conditions too!

  2. I have to agree with Emmett’s sarcasm. The smoke did NOT cause the accidents, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely and failing to pay attention to conditions did.

    Locally, in the Black Hills National Forest, I see signs along the highway advising motorists of smoke dangers from prescribed burns but people don’t bother to slow down here either. I wonder if there were warning signs in this incident, the article doesn’t say….

    1. I don’t know who was doing the burning. It could have been a government agency, a rancher burning a field, or a home owner burning debris in their back yard. It may have gotten away since it appears the fire burned right up to the highway.

  3. It’s common in Kansas to burn up to the edge of the road. Also the only folks that use signs are the Feds. A couple million acres will burn between now and mid may.

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