By BECKY KISER
ELLIS COUNTY — The Kansas National Guard deployed two Black Hawk helicopters from Salina earlier Tuesday afternoon to help fight today’s second major wildfire, according to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.
This fire, originally located near Homestead and Toulon Roads northeast of Hays, has been pushed by gusty northwest winds up to 49 mph and is currently north of Catharine.
Fire officials are asking people to stay away from the area to allow emergency responders to work the scene.
Mindy Juenemann has been watching the large helicopters being piloted down to collect water from a pond near her house on 320th Avenue, Victoria, and shared her video.
(Video courtesy Mindy Juenemann)
The helicopters are filling attached water scoops in a farm pond near 300th and Golf Course Road, Victoria.
(Video courtesy Ashley Brozek)
Brozek watched the action from her home, and provided this video from her phone, explaining that “one helicopter has landed and the second is in the air” after collecting water to help fight the fire. The second Black Hawk can be seen in the upper left of the video flying to the left.
Reports indicate the water is being dumped on the north end of the fire.
According to Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman, the fire was north of Catharine about five miles as of late Tuesday afternoon.
“Fire departments are set up north of Catharine to try to keep it from getting into town, but if you live in or around Catharine, be prepared,” Hileman wrote on his Facebook page. Hileman said KHP is “going from farm to farm evacuating residents in the fire’s path.”
Courtesy Matt McCune