Kansas prepares for damaging wind, high fire danger

Local

MULVANE, Kan. (KSNW) – Fire crews across Kansas are prepping for the worst this week with high wind and high fire danger.

“The grass is full, the wind will be strong,” said Mulvane Fire Chief Lowell Ester. “We will position a couple of people in advance. We know it could get bad.”

Ester will have wildland fire gear and crews ready to go.

“You know wildland fires have been hitting the news since about 2017 since we had the Anderson Creek Fire,” said Ester. “And it’s just progressively worse it seems like every year.”

Ester takes part in mutual aid between many departments in both Sedgwick County and others. hE is just one of many preparing for possible fires.

Power companies like Midwest Energy are prepping.

“We have a petty robust pole testing regimen where we go out and inspect every pole within our system,” said Mike Morely, director of communications with Midwest Energy. “And that’s upwards of half a million poles.”

Morley says they have multiple ways of keeping the power on if poles are hit by fires.

“We use SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system to monitor the health of the system,” explained Morley. “It will let you know if there are any kind of irregularities with the voltage or if a circuit opens up or if a breaker opens.”

While they hope fires do not cause power outages, they are prepped if it happens.

“We’ll send a crew out to patrol that line, find where the damage is and then initiate repairs,” said Morley. “If people do have an outage, we still encourage folks to call in and let us know.”

Fire crews also have some advice.

“This Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Ester, “Not a good day to burn trash.”

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