Gov. Colyer declares emergency for Rice County fires


RICE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Wildfires kept firefighters from several departments busy today. 

One of the biggest blazes was in Rice County. 

Governor Jeff Colyer declared an emergency for the area so they could get state help. 

“The community comes together when things go bad,” said Shawn Lasater, Central Prairie Co-op.

Shawn Lasater was one of dozens of people Wednesday helping in any way that he can to assist firefighters who put out three wildfires in southeast Rice County. 

He and others at the Central Prairie Co-op were helping keep fire engines going. 

“If they don’t have fuel, they can’t put out a fire because they can’t get there,” said Lasater. “So, we just got to keep them going so they can go out there and do what they got to do.”

Firefighters have been out since 12:30 this afternoon, when the first fire broke out. Conditions caused them to need the assistance of the Knasas National Guard who sent Blackhawk helicopters to battle the blaze.

“Wind is the huge factor and the tall grass, access to some of these locations is very tough at times,” said Rice County Emergency Management Director Greg Klein.

Officials requested that people in southeastern Rice County evacuate as they worked to protect their homes. 

Fire departments from other counties also came to provide help to their fellow firefighters. 

“It’s important for us to be out here doing this because it takes a lot of effort to put these fires out and the resources get exhausted pretty quick,” said Clearwater Fire Captain Jason Templin. “And these guys out here, they get tired pretty fast.”

Original Story:

Fire crews in Rice County are battling several grass fires. 

Right now, all fire departments are out fighting fires in the eastern part of the county. 

Officials ask that you stay out of their way. 

Ave V is closed by barricade going east from 22nd.

Gov. Jeff Colyer made and emergency declaration for the fires in Rice County. He is deploying Black Hawks to aid in the response.  One Black Hawk helicopter is going to Rice County. Three additional helicopters are on standby.

“The people of Rice County need our help,” said Colyer, “and, like good Kansas neighbors, we will give them whatever assistance we can to help them get these fires under control.”

Much of the state is in a high fire danger.

KSN News has crews heading to the scene. Look for updates online. 


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