Firefighters have responded to several grassfires in recent weeks that occurred generally in the same area southeast of Lawrence and south of Eudora to the Johnson County line. Due to the similar nature and timing of the fires that tend to cluster around the same location, they are considered suspicious in nature at this time.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators are asking for help from community members who might have seen any suspicious activity or vehicles in the area of the fires. Dates of several recent fires are noted below.
“Thankfully none of the fires so far have caused considerable damage to property or injured anyone, but because they are suspicious in nature and with their location near Kansas Highway 10, this is a dangerous game someone is playing,” Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister said. “We want these to stop, and we are asking for the community’s assistance in this investigation.”
The primary response agency has been Douglas County Consolidated Fire District No. 1 with mutual-aid assistance from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, Eudora Fire Department, Northwest Consolidated Fire District of Johnson County and Palmyra Fire District #2.
“I have spoken with many of the citizens in the area and can say that I fully understand your concerns”, said Fire Chief Mike Baxter of Consolidated Fire District No. 1. “We have increased our daily staffing and started patrols of the area for a faster response with more resources. We ask that if you see any smoke, fire or anything suspicious, to please call 911 immediately.”
Both the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department are working with the Office of the State Fire Marshal on the investigation. The Kansas Highway Patrol has also assisted.
Because dangerous fire weather and dry conditions are expected over the next several days, a Burn Ban is in effect for the unincorporated areas of Douglas County through Oct. 24.
Anyone with potential information to assist investigators can contact the Sheriff’s Office, 785-841-0007, or Douglas County Crime Stoppers, 785-843-TIPS (8477), where callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
- Oct. 21 – A grass fire in the 1800 block of N 1000 Road.
- Oct. 17 - Three fires started within minutes of each other between the 1700 block and the 2100 block of N 900 Road.
- Oct. 10 – Seven fires started within 30 minutes of each other between the 1400 block of N 1100 Road and the Johnson County line.
- Oct. 6 – Five fires in the afternoon in the 1500 block to the 2400 block of N 1100 Road.
- Sept. 29 – Eight fires in the afternoon in the 1400 block to 2400 block of N 1100 Road.
- Sept. 25 – Several grass fires along K-10 in the area of E 1900 Road.