Soldier Township Fire Department sees a rise in fires across Shawnee County

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Grass fires are on a rise in northeast Kansas. The Soldier Township Fire Department in Topeka usually gets around three calls a day, but in the past four days they have already received 53 calls.

Fire departments all across Kansas are busier than normal because of the grass fires, but firefighters at Soldier Township Fire Department said this season the fires have picked up even quicker than in years past.

They have seen nearly five times more fires than they would on a typical day.

“Over the course of the past four days we’ve had 53 calls and that’s not even counting today,” Chris Hamilton, a battalion chief with the Soldier Township Fire Department, said. “Today we’ve already had four or five fires going on so far.”

Typically the department gets mostly medical calls, but during this time of the year fires are common. On the week of March 1 the department crew saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in property.

A lot of preparation goes into making sure the crew is ready to go.

“In the morning we don’t have a lot of things going on,” Hamilton said. “It gives us an opportunity to make sure we have topped off fuel levels, everything on both pumps and the trucks are blown out, cleaned and all the dust debris dirt that’s build up inside and out. We try to make sure everything is ready for that next call.”

Fire Chief Doug Schmitt, posted on Facebook two days ago to share the gratitude he has for his hard-working crew.

Grass fire season typically runs from early March until the middle of April.

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