Dodge City, KS Area Prairie Fires, Mar 1916

Fires Sweep Kansas Prairie

Hundreds of Miles of Grass in Western Counties Burned Over.

Topeka, March 22.-Praririe fires were burning in a dozen Western Kansas counties early today. Although no loss of life has been reported, many houses have been caught in the fast moving flames and pasture lands have been reduced to vast reaches of black stubble.

One blaze which started near Leotl, Wichita County, started eastward, burned its way through Scott and Lane counties, and finally was believed to be under control west of Utten in Ness County, a distance of seventy miles. A farmhouse near Colby, in Thomas county, was burned, the result of grass fires in that county.

Dodge City maintained a fire guard all last night on the edge of the city to check the flames which threatened from the Northwest. Six counties were afire to the north and west of that place. Barton County reported a small blaze.

Volunteer fire fighter worked all night plowing fire-guard furrows, carrying water and using every other possible method to stop the advance of the flames.

Extremely hot weather and high winds of the last few days have reduced the great stretches of landscape to the inflammability of tinder, and fires have traveled with great speed.

Dodge City, Kas., March 22.-At 2 o’clo0ck this morning the five hundred men fighting the prairie fires near Dodge City succeeded in beating the remainder of the flames in between two large wheat fields, where they burned themselves out.

The fire had reached a point within five miles of town, after burning from early yesterday morning and searing a strip from nearly Finney County. Men burning fire guards were caught by the sudden rise of the wind from the west, and their fire driven into Hodgeman County. Then the veering of the wind sent the flames south into Ford County. A dozen homes in the northwestern part of this county were destroyed. All telephone wires are burned down in the north part of the county, but it is known that the “Cap” Finley farmhouse, all the property of Grant Smith, part of the farm property of Truman Vance, farmers, farther north, were burned.

Kansas City Star, Kansas City, MO 22 Mar 1916