Kansas governor issues emergency declaration for wildland fires

Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a state of disaster emergency declaration due to wildland fires in northwest Kansas.  The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

“We want to do everything we can to support local first responders,” Kelly said. “This declaration will allow the state to posture to support local response as needed.”

Officials say the northwestern portion of the state is at a heightened fire risk through Sunday, Nov. 8. Conditions across the state are dry with low relative humidity, strong southerly winds, and an abundance of dry grass and other flammable vegetation.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka is currently activated in response to the coronavirus pandemic and will be monitoring for critical fire weather across Kansas.

“Wildland fires destroy crops and grazing land, and threaten homes and lives,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “It is important that we have resources on standby to assist local first responders get fires under control as quickly as possible.”

It only takes one spark to touch off a wildland fire, so Kansans are urged to use care when burning outside, including fires in outdoor grills, and to make sure all smoking materials are completely extinguished before discarding them. Contact your local county emergency manager to see if there is a burn ban in your area.