Kansas—Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a State of Disaster Emergency declaration due to a high risk of wildland fires and red flag warnings in the majority of Kansas counties. Dry and windy weather is in the forecast for the rest of the week, resulting in anticipated critical fire weather conditions. The weather conditions quickly dry out dead grass and other fuels, making them receptive to new fire starts or rekindles from controlled burns. The combination of dry fuels and wind-driven fires are more challenging and difficult to control.
The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.
“Fire season is in full-force and we must all do our part to protect our fellow Kansans,” Kelly said. “Exercise caution and not do any burning at this time. Remember it only takes a spark to start a fire that can quickly get out of control with the high winds.”
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation and will assist counties with requests for state assistance.
Kansas Forest Service personnel and contracted Air Tanker 95 are assisting with fires in Reno County.
“Interagency coordination of resources at a state level increases firefighter and public safety when large wildfires occur – which is our top priority,” said Mark Neely, State Fire Management Officer with KFS.
With several days of fire weather concerns throughout Kansas, resources will be limited.
“We ask all Kansans to do your part in preventing and immediately reporting wildfires. We are faced with back-to-back days of elevated fire weather this week and resources are likely to be stretched thin with multiple fires burning across the state today,” said Neely.
KFS staff is dispersed across the state to monitor fire conditions and behavior. They are available to provide assistance as requested.