UPDATE 1:23 p.m.: Fire crews are attacking a large blaze north of Hays and east of U.S. 183 in the area of Toulon Avenue and Homestead Road. Air support has been called in to assist crews, according to reports.
UPDATE 1:14 p.m. From KHP Trooper Tod: I-70, both directions, is back open at Hays!
UPDATE 12:52 p.m. from Midwest Energy: several wind-driven fires are creating problems, including an outage affecting 275 people northeast of Hays.
Video republished with permission
UPDATE 12:26 p.m. Kansas Highway Patrol asking local traffic to avoid Old Highway 40 and Toulon: “If you live in or around the Hays area, please avoid old Highway 40 at Toulon. Very heavy traffic coming off of I 70, so if you could use another county road, that would help us. Please and thank you!”
UPDATE 12:20 p.m. from NCKTech: NCK Tech Hays east campus will be closed and classes will be cancelled for the rest of the day, including night classes – excluding Hadley & Big Creek facilities. More information to follow as details are available.
Fire crews are on the scene of a grass fire burning the area of Commerce Parkway, northeast of Hays. According to reports, traffic from Interstate 70 was being diverted or stopped, according to reports.
The fire is reportedly quickly spreading, fueled by wind gusts from the northwest of up to 54 mph. The fire was visible north of I-70 at Sternberg. Crews also were at the campus of NCK Tech, although no fire was seen on campus, and 27th Street is closed at Canterbury.
Witness reports said that emergency responders were being forced to negotiate onlookers heading to the area to see the fire, as well.
Some homeowners in the Tallgrass subdivision, east of St. Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church, were seen boxing up possessions just before noon.
“Traffic on I-70 being rerouted between mp 157 and 163 or U-183 bypass and Toulon Ave (the circles) then take Old Hwy 40 around the south end of Hays,” KHP Trooper Tod Hileman said in a social media update. “The fire is approximately where the square is.”
Check Hays Post for details as they become available.