Governor Laura Kelly issued a verbal declaration of disaster emergency last night, April 12, due to wildland fires across the state. The declaration will allow the state to preposition assets for a quicker response to any fires that may begin. Wildfire resources including aviation will be available and prepared to response quickly to any requests for assistance.
Extreme dryness has developed in many parts of Kansas over the last month displaced from the last wetting rain. Combined with above normal temperatures and persistent gusty winds resulting in near daily elevated fire weather concerns. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and become very difficult to control. Outdoor burning is not recommended.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management went to a partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka at 7 a.m. today to keep in contact with county emergency offices and monitor weather conditions.
“Fire season is in full-force, and we must all do our part to protect all Kansans,” Governor Kelly said. “I urge everyone across the state to use extreme caution and avoid burning if at all possible.”
“The persistent drought is leaving the majority of Kansas very vulnerable to wildfires,” said Mark Neely, Fire Management Officer for Kansas Forest Service. “Fires will move quickly and be difficult to contain. Please be careful outside and report all fires immediately.”