EWB Fire burns thousands of acres in southern Kansas

The fire was approximately 18 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge

EWB Fire Barber County Kansas S-2 air tanker 95
Tanker 95 makes a drop on the EWB fire in Barber County, Kansas March 25, 2020. From the Kansas Forest Service Facebook page.

Firefighters from 11 agencies battled a wildfire in southern Kansas on March 25 assisted by two UH-60 National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and a privately owned S-2 air tanker.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a disaster declaration for the EWB Fire burning in Barber County just north of the Oklahoma border about 18 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge.

“The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria,” the governor’s office explained.

Wildfire Today’s very unofficial estimate of the size of the fire based on satellite detections of heat puts it at approximately 4,000 acres. By the end of the day firefighters had mostly stopped the spread of the fire.

Below is an excerpt from the Kansas Forest Service Facebook page, posted March 26, 2020.

Yesterday afternoon, Air Tanker 95, piloted by Bill Garrison, under contract with the Kansas Forest Service was assigned to the EWB Fire in Barber County. Air Tanker 95 made five drops on the EWB Fire with the support of KFS DFMO Bryce Haverkamp who tied in with the local incident commander. This fire brought back memories for many involved as it followed the burn scar from the Anderson Creek Fire of 2016. The collaborative efforts of many agencies and firefighters across the area prevented a wildfire from becoming what could have been a catastrophic wildfire. With social distancing, it may be a while before you are able to thank your local firefighters for their hard work on stopping the EWB Fire – so be sure to send them a text, give them a call, direct message on social media, or air five to thank them for everything they do to protect our Kansas communities.

map EWB Fire Barber County Kansas
Map showing heat on the EWB fire detected by a satellite at 2:55 p.m. CDT March 25, 2020. Wildfire Today.

EWB Fire Barber County Kansas helicopters Blackhawk EWB Fire Barber County Kansas

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Matt. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Satellite image of fires in Arkansas, March 5, 2020

Fires also detected in eastern OK and southeast MO

fires and smoke in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri
At 4:14 p.m. CST the GOES 16 satellite detected fires and smoke in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. NASA data, processed by Wildfire Today.

At 4:14 p.m. CST on March 5 the GOES 16 satellite detected fires and smoke in Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and southeast Missouri. It is difficult to tell if they are wildfires, prescribed fires, or agricultural burning, but most of them appear to in forested areas.

The March 5 prediction for Red Flag Warnings designated areas of enhanced wildfire danger north and northwest of Arkansas.

wildfires Red Flag Warnings, March 5, 2020
Red Flag Warnings, March 5, 2020.

Progress made on some wildfires in the South, while others still grow

Chestnut Knob Fire
Firefighters with leaf blowers on the Chestnut Knob Fire. The fire is 6 miles south of Morganton, NC and at the last report grew by 9 acres. InciWeb.

While several large fires in the southern states are still actively spreading, firefighters have made progress on dozens of others.

On Monday the Southern Geographic Area reported 52 large uncontained fires, for a total of 133,146 acres. There were 185 new fires of all sizes for 1,477 acres; most of those were suppressed while still small. That was considered “moderate” initial attack activity.

Firefighting resources assigned in the South:

  • 78 aircraft
  • 83 hand crews
  • 1,011 pieces of equipment
  • 4,476 personnel
map wildfires south
Map showing the location of some of the large fires in the southern states. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:22 am November 21, 2016.

On Sunday evening four fires reported 24-hour growth of more than 100 acres:

Rock Mountain Fire

Map Rock Mountain Fire
Map of the perimeter of the Rock Mountain Fire at 6 p.m. ET November 20, 2016.

The Rock Mountain Fire that started about 10 miles northwest of Clayton Georgia has spread north into North Carolina. At the last report it had burned 11,287 acres, an increase of 862 acres. On Sunday it was very active, moving through the hardwood leaf litter in all directions at a rate of about one mile each day. Evacuations are still in place for Dream Catcher Cove north of Tate City, Georgia.

On Saturday strong winds pushed the blaze across the Appalachian Trail on the north end of the fire. Winds blowing leaves still falling from trees are creating problems for firefighters, covering existing firelines and causing some areas to re-burn.

East Miller Cove

The East Miller Cove Fire is just east of Walland, Tennessee, 16 miles south of Knoxville. On Sunday evening the incident management team reported it had burned 1,492 acres, an increase of 1,292 acres, threatening 100 structures north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Big Branch

The Big Branch Fire is in southeast Kentucky three miles south of Roxana and five miles northeast of Cumberland. It has burned 625 acres, an increase of 175 acres.

Oakwood 1 Fire

This fire is in Arkansas, listed at 468 acres, an increase of 278. No other information is available.

Chestnut Knob Fire
A firefighter on the Chestnut Knob Fire. InciWeb.

For the latest articles at Wildfire Today about how smoke from the wildfires is affecting various locations in the South, check out the articles tagged “smoke”.

2015: Second fewest acres burned in Arkansas in last six years

Arkansas wildfire stats 6 years

The Arkansas Forestry Commission released their statistics for the number of acres burned in the state during the last six years. It turned out that the 14,652 acres in 2015 was the second fewest during that period, well below the average of 25,669.

Arkansas leads U.S. in total value of federal excess property acquired for rural fire departments

From the Arkansas Forestry Commission:

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“The Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) Rural Fire Protection (RFP) Program provides specialized equipment, training, and loans to qualifying rural fire departments across Arkansas. Reports from a recent review by the U.S. Forest Service reveal Arkansas as the leader, surpassing all other states in the U.S., for the total value of federal excess property acquired by the program as of 2014.

“The Rural Fire Protection Program was designed to support, train, and equip our strongest partners in wildland fire suppression and community safety – firefighters. We are proud to see equipment going to rural areas that adds water supply, as well as general tools and supplies, decreases response time, and enhances the overall safety of Arkansas communities. We are especially proud to know that Arkansas was a leader in 2014 for acquiring equipment that makes Arkansans safer,” said John Blackburn, RFP Coordinator.

Firefighting equipment acquired by the AFC RFP program includes an array of items such as tanker trucks, pumper trucks, brush trucks, fire boats, generators, and smaller gear and tools like personal protective equipment, helmets, gloves, lights, general shop tools, tires, nozzles, and more. Most of this equipment would be unattainable by rural fire departments because of cost constraints, if this program did not exist.

In March and April of this year, the RFP Program provided firefighting vehicles and/or generators to 29 fire departments, across 22 counties; five interest-free loans, totaling $80,551; and, general firefighting equipment valued at over $67,000 from the RFP Program Warehouse at Greenbrier.

Last year (2014), 107 firefighting vehicles were distributed across the state, all valued at $9,900,661.63; 16 interest-free loans were financed for fire crews to transform Department of Defense equipment into firefighting equipment, totaling $200,219.66; and Wildland Fire Suppression Kits were provided to 34 communities, totaling $102,000 in added wildland fire equipment to statewide crews.

Where does it all come from? Resources made available through the RFP Program is Department of Defense excess property vehicles and equipment that is provided to the U.S. Forest Service through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two federal agencies. The U.S. Forest Service then authorizes the AFC to oversee the distribution of this equipment through the RFP Program.  RFP personnel screen for and coordinate the pick-up of federal excess property from across the country, within those agency parameters. Fire departments may apply for equipment at anytime through RFP Headquarters in Greenbrier; provided that they are in compliance with Federal Regulations. Equipment is then distributed as evenly and quickly as possible, to meet fire department requests on file.

Beyond equipment and loan opportunities, the RFP Program administers the 8-hour Wildland Firefighter Class, and helps to plan, organize, and host the upcoming annual Arkansas Fire Boat School (May 29-30at DeGray Lake) – training for statewide fire boat crews, and hosts an annual fall fire show and cookout for Arkansas firefighters.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Kelly. Typos or errors, report them HERE.