The Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department responded to a report of an out-of-control burn during the late afternoon of Thursday, March 4, 2021, ultimately resulting in over 1,000 acres of land burned in multiple jurisdictions.
The fire originated in the northwest quadrant of the reservation near 166th and G roads on privately owned land, just west of Our Lady of the Snows Church. Upon response, PTFD noted the fire had initially impacted an estimated 100 acres of land, roughly the size of 75 football fields. The fast-moving wildland fire traveled along a northwest route toward the corner of 182nd and E roads burning across trust land and additional private lands. Spurred on by winds, low relative humidity conditions, and natural fuel sources such as grasses and shrubs, the fire was unstoppable through direct attack.
During containment efforts, several surrounding agencies were called in for assistance including the Kansas Forest Service which was able to provide the use of their air tanker and deployed three water drops on the head of the fire. Defenses were established at the natural barriers of 182nd road and E road with multiple brush trucks deployed to stop the fire from jumping E road. Several homes and structures were saved, and no one was injured during the fire.
In all, the Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department, Potawatomi Tribal Police and Dispatch, Jackson County Sherriff, Jackson County Sheriff Dispatch, Jackson County EMS, Mayetta Fire, Hoyt Fire, Delia Fire, Soldier Fire, Holton Fire, Netawaka Fire, Whiting Fire, Silver Lake Fire and the Kansas Forest Service responded to the incident and played a part in containment.