My heart has been saddened while watching news of the devastating fires in Southwest Kansas.
There are more than 20 counties in Kansas experiencing wild fires, but the fires in one area hit very close to my heart.
The town where I grew up in Kansas was evacuated yesterday along with several others in the area. Since Ashland is a very small town, I know many of the people there and still stay in contact with a lot of them. My Facebook feed has been filled with stories of the fires.
In this update from earlier this morning you can see the large areas of the fire that are still burning. At this time it looks like the town of Ashland itself has been spared, but unfortunately many homes in rural areas have gone up in flames.
My classmate and friend Tammy took these pictures and gratefully allowed me to share them with you.
I spent many hours driving a tractor in the fields of Clark county the year after I graduated from High School. Now some of those same fields are going up in flame.
One of my classmates raises horses and has been fighting to save his home. He is also a basketball coach for the Ashland boys team which is scheduled to play in the State Tournament later this week.
The team that they will be playing in the first round has started a collection of much needed supplies that they will bring to the tournament with them. It is amazing how the Kansas communities pull together in time of need.
This is a very stressful time for my friends as they continue to battle the fires and also begin the cleanup process. I also have many friends who have connections to Ashland that are also very worried as they wait for news of loved ones.
They are all in my prayers and I know that they would also appreciate the prayers of those who are reading this.
Update: A fundraising page has been set up for students and families of Ashland School District.