Riley County officials say an estimated 300 acres burned in a Tuesday wildfire northeast of Randolph.

That fire was 90% contained as of Wednesday morning, with crews performing “mop up” and monitoring conditions by midday, according to Public Information Officer Vivienne Leyva.

Strong winds spread embers from a large fire burning on the Pottawatomie County side of the Big Blue River channel, igniting in Riley County. The fire resulted in a disaster declaration, due to the potential for it to cause wide-spread or severe damage, injury or loss of life.

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze, including 35 volunteer firefighters from Riley County Fire District No. 1, with mutual aid provided by Kansas Forest Service, Geary County Rural Fire, Marshall County Fire, the North Central Kansas Wildland Task Force from Mitchell County, as well as Tipton Rural and Olsburg City Fire Departments. Heinen Brothers Agra Services also provided air support. Riley County EMS also provided support and the Riley County Police Department provided use of its drone team for situational awareness, due to extreme difficult terrain challenges.

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“This Fire would have rapidly expanded and doubled or tripled in size without the aviation resources and large backburn operations performed by crews,” said Deputy Chief John Martens. “The mountain-like terrain was some of the most challenging we have seen and made this fight anything but easy.”

A burn ban remains in place areawide, due to dangerous fire conditions.

Fire Chief and Riley County Emergency Management Director Russel Stukey expressed gratitude to the neighboring fire departments and state resources.

“Without their assistance we might still be out in full force trying to get this fire under control and likely would have had significant damage to multiple structures. Several families could have lost their homes,” said Fire Chief Russel Stukey.