Wind-blown fires burn about 40 square miles in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. — Crews are battling wind-blown wildfires that have burned about 40 square miles in Kansas.

State officials say nearly 50 wildfires have erupted across Kansas since the weekend, although most have been put out or contained. The fires are primarily across central Kansas, ranging from the Nebraska to the Oklahoma borders. Strong winds complicated the firefight Tuesday, with gusts topping 70 mph in western Kansas.

The fires have closed highways and prompted evacuations. It is unknown how many structures have been destroyed, but officials have a report of at least one home that caught fire in Elk County. Strong winds also blew over a communications tower in Logan County.

The Kansas National Guard has deployed six helicopters with water buckets and activated 29 soldiers to man them and the two fuel trucks.