A bad combination of drought, low humidity, and high winds have made Kansas a tinderbox. There have been numerous prairie wildfires across the state over the last two weeks. The smoke plumes were large enough to show up on weather radar. I took this photo of the smoke from the Anderson Creek wildfire as it moved across the Wichita metropolitan area one afternoon.
The fire started in Oklahoma near Woodward but, with constant winds of 30-40 mph, day & night, the fire quickly raced north into Kansas. The wind made it impossible for firefighters to contain the fire. The fire burned for over a week and a half, scorching more than 400,000 acres. Most of those were in Kansas.
I took this photo one late afternoon, more than an hour before sunset. The wind had shifted direction and I noticed what I thought was a cloud bank moving in from the west. As it came over town, the sun became obscured, my eyes were burning and the strong stench of smoke filled the air. Those weren't rain clouds, unfortunately. The shifting wind was allowing the smoke plume to drift right across the city. I was surprised by how dense the smoke was, considering the wildfire was 100 miles away. This turned out to be the largest wildfire in state history.