snow helps U.S. firefighters slowly contain prairie wildfire
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[March 28, 2016]
(Reuters) - A wildfire that has
scorched hundreds of thousands acres of prairie and ranch land in Kansas
and Oklahoma since last week was slowly being contained, authorities
said on Sunday, with a rare Easter snowfall providing some help to
Even though Kansas and Oklahoma received about an inch of snow on
Saturday night, officials remained cautious about when teams could
bring the fire under control.
"Firefighters are trying to use some of that precipitation to get a
handle on things," said Melanie Karns, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma
Forestry Services. "If we just get a little bit of rain or snow, it
helps, but it takes more than just a little bit to help put out some
of the heavier fuels."
By Sunday afternoon, the so-called Anderson Creek Fire, which began
on Tuesday in Oklahoma and spread northward, was 45 percent
contained across the two states, Karns said. The fire was 36 percent
contained at midday on Saturday.
The Kansas Forestry Service on Friday said the wildfire was the
largest in the state's history and one of the largest ever in the
United States. It has already charred nearly 400,000 acres in both
Karns said the agency would update the number of burned acres by
late Sunday afternoon.
Barber County, Kansas, about 100 miles southwest of Wichita near the
Oklahoma border, remains the most difficult area to contain the
blaze. The fire is 31 percent contained in the county, Karns said.
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Fire-fighting teams have used Kansas Air National Guard Black Hawk
helicopters to dump buckets of water in canyons and other dry areas.
Helicopters continued to drop water in dry and burning areas on
Sunday afternoon, said Shawna Hartman, spokeswoman for Kansas Forest
About 50,000 gallons of water were dumped throughout Saturday,
(Reporting by Justin Madden in Chicago; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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