Harvey County firefighters wrangle 1,500-acre prairie fire

A fire that started as a controlled burn Sunday quickly slipped out of control when winds gusted to 17 mph, Harvey County officials said.

For nearly 3 hours, 11 fire departments from surrounding communities fought the fire, which at one point threatened nearly 20 houses in the sandhills north of Burrton.

"We are getting a better handle on it than we had earlier," said Lon Buller, director of Harvey County Emergency Management.

"We haven't lost anything but there were 20 homes that were close to harm's way," he said.

Much of the land is prairie grass on the rolling sand hills.

Fire units were called from Burrton, Halstead, the city of Sedgwick, Hesston, Newton, Buhler, Hutchinson, Walton, Whitewater and two Reno County districts.

Buller said shortly after 6:30 p.m. that he hoped to relieve the fire crews and bring in other crews.