RILEY COUNTY (KSNT) – Riley County Fire District 1 and the Kansas State Fire Marshal are currently investigating the cause of a wildfire on Wednesday. They’re offering a cash reward for information on who may have started it.
A reward of $1,000 was posted on Riley County Fire District 1’s Facebook page on April 13. The post stated the cause of the Baldwin Park Road fire is currently being investigated.
KSNT 27 News spoke with Deputy Fire Chief of Operations Doug Russell, who said the area where the fire started is causing suspicion due to several factors: there are no residences in the area, no camping is allowed and it is part of a state park. The only people who pass through the area are usually heading to a nearby boat ramp for Tuttle Creek Lake. He ruled out natural occurrences as having possibly started the blaze.
“Nothing from lightning,” Russell said. “The likelihood of it being started by nature is unlikely.”
The investigation has been turned over to the Kansas State Fire Marshal. If you have any information related to this event, Riley County Fire District 1 encourages you to call the Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Using Crime Stoppers can allow you to remain anonymous and could qualify you for the cash reward.
Wildfires have burned large amounts of Riley and Wabaunsee counties recently and the danger remains high for the possibility of new fires. However, Russell says recent rainfall doused much of the area and has helped to mitigate some of the fires, providing a reprieve for firefighters.