Winds cause damage around the county

Winds gusting to more than 40 mph March 26 sent the Foth family trampoline over the fence and into the neighbor's yard in the 200 block of Elm Street. Haley Foth said the trampoline was a birthday present for their daughter, who was waiting for warmer days to try it out.Reports of wind damage and fires peppered Marion County last week, and over the weekend, with gusts in excess of 25 to 50 mph.
In addition to residents running around looking for trash cans blown over into streets and neighbor?s yards, high winds also carried off larger items.

For Haley Foth of Hillsboro, her daughter?s trampoline was a weather-related casualty.
?We had just gotten home from Wichita around 1 p.m. (Wednesday), so we weren?t here when it happened, but my mother-in-law was,? she said.

City crews were the first to notice the trampoline was no longer in the Foth?s backyard, and they contacted Foth?s mother-in-law.
?We have only had (the trampoline) for a couple of months,? she said. ?It was a birthday present for our four-year-old.?
With the winds continuing to gust throughout the week, Foth said her family hasn?t even been able to get the trampoline back into their own yard.

?I was surprised we didn?t have any damage to our fence and especially surprised that it didn?t do any damage to our neighbor?s house,? she said.

Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine said another report of wind damage came from Doug Sisk, Hillsboro recreation director.
Sisk said there was damage to the dugout at Memorial Baseball Field, on the westside of town.

In addition, Marion High School?s football score board completely folded in on itself from the winds Wednesday.

Wind contributes to fires
Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said five grass and brush fires were reported over the weekend because of winds, along with other incidents throughout the weekend, he said.

?Two were mutual aid calls to assist the Goessel Fire Department with fires that were a result of previous controlled burns on Saturday,? he said.

?One was another mutual aid call to assist Marion Fire Department with a similar fire.?

The other two were grass/brush fires, he said, from errant controlled burns in our normal response area.

?We responded to a vehicle accident Saturday,? he said, ?and from that call we responded to the next three calls without ever returning to the station?that?s how rapidly they were coming in.?

Firefighters on Sunday continued to stay busy by helping the Marion Fire Department.

Barn fire
While assisting Marion, Steketee said he heard Lincolnville and Lost Springs were called out to a barn fire on Sunflower, north of U.S. Highway 56, also because of a previous controlled burn.

?During that call, I also heard Peabody go out on a call that was another fire from a previous controlled burn.?
Once again, Hillsboro firefighters on Sunday responded to the next call before they could return to the station.
?Fire is a useful tool,? Steketee said, ?but like any tool, it must be used carefully or the results can be damaging to both people and property.?

When planning any outdoor burn, he explained, analysis of conditions, and future conditions, is important.
?Remember, if you light it, you?re responsible for the consequences,? he said.

Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft, agreed with Steketee, noting that quite a few fires in the county were aided by the wind.
According to the National Weather Service office, winds are expected to relax, but officials did offer some advice when strong winds return.

?People planning to travel should be prepared for strong crosswinds that will cause hazardous driving conditions,? an official said.
Drivers in lightweight or high profile vehicles should consider delaying travel or use alternate routes.

?For those driving on roadways,? a NWS spokesperson said, ?slow down and remain alert for sudden and strong wind gusts.?

NWS officials also caution people that if potentially damaging winds are prevalent, trash cans, patio furniture and any other items that could be easily tossed about by winds should be stored indoors.

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