As Kansas wildfire dies down, financial costs add up (+videos)

The largest wildfire in Kansas history is 90 percent contained, and now much of the attention has shifted toward adding up the damages and getting aid to residents.

The fire started on March 22 in Oklahoma and spread north, and by Thursday, it had burned an estimated 397,420 acres across Kansas and Oklahoma.

There was a small flareup on Tuesday, which was put out an hour later, according to a news release from Barber County.

The weather conditions are still ripe for fire, so a burn ban is in effect for seven days in Barber County. But most of the additional firefighter resources have returned home.

Oklahoma lost approximately 600 head of cattle, 1,000 round bales of hay, numerous power poles, tons of grain and hundreds of miles of fence, according to Hannah Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Forestry Service.

Damage estimates for Kansas are already in excess of $1 million, but this could grow quickly. In 1996, a year in which the largest fire was about a quarter the size of this year’s fire, The Eagle reported that damage to fences, homes and other buildings added up to $60 million.

The total number of buildings that were burned in the fire is 41 in both Kansas and Oklahoma. Sixteen of the buildings are residences, and 25 are barns, sheds or other kinds of nonresidential structures.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been assisting in Barber County, according to the news release.

Property owners from Barber County are encouraged to call either the Barber County Extension Office or the local Department of Agriculture office to report damages to structures, property and livestock.

Representatives for several Oklahoma agencies said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Oliver Morrison: 316-268-6499, @ORMorrison

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