A spray plane drops water on a pasture fire near Ulysses, Kansas, in mid-April. While this may not be his plane, Eric German of Imperial flew one of three planes on the scene. (Courtesy photo). 

Local pilot helps put out Kansas fires

    Volunteer help is essential to small-town living.
    That’s exactly what Eric German of Imperial did a few weeks ago.
    While working as a spray pilot in central Kansas, the area between Lakin and Ulysses, Kansas, was in potential fire warnings due to high winds on April 17.
    According to German, a fire started on some farmland by four-wheelers who were moving cattle.
    German and two other spray planes were in the area helping put out the fires.
    A young farmer was discing in the area when his tractor got stuck. With smoke from the fire getting into his cab, the farmer didn’t think he would make it.
    German said the farmer told his mother a plane came in and dumped water on him and he was eventually able to get out.
    The pilots didn’t actually see the tractor due to the smoke, but just happened to have dumped water in the right spot.
    “He didn’t get messed up in any way,” German said.
    “(Dryness) is typical. We haven’t seen large fires (in SW Nebraska) like in the past. But right now we are drier than normal,” Incident Meteorologist Shawn Jacobs said.
    McCook, for example, is one to two inches below the average moisture total, “which is somewhat concerning.”

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