Kanas- Gov. Laura Kelly issued a verbal declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency today, due to the increased fire danger across the state today and into the week. Kansas is in a Red Flag Warning which means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.  All outdoor burning should be avoided today.

Today there is a very high to extreme fire danger exists across the state, with extreme fire danger over the western third of the state.

The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that are impacted by a wildland fire.

The Kansas Forest Service is pre-staging a single engine air tanker from Heinen Brothers in western Kansas this morning and will also have T95 available for aerial fire suppression assets.

“All Kansans should be extra vigilant if burning,” said Kelly.  “More than once in recent years, we have seen the devastation that can result from wildfires. Homes have been destroyed, livestock killed, thousands of acres of farmland completely burned, resulting in millions of dollars in economic loss. Please keep yourself and your community safe and use extra precautions anytime you are doing any burning.”

“The prolonged drought and extended fire season have taken its toll on firefighters and firefighting resources since mid-December,” said Mark Neely, State Fire Management Officer, Kansas Forest Service. “We ask all Kansans to be extra careful and report all fires immediately.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management did a partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka at 11 a.m. Sunday. Emergency Support Function partners that will be supporting the SEOC and KDEM to provide assistance to county and local responders are the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Department of Transportation, Department of Children and Families, Adjutant General’s Department, and Kansas Highway Patrol.