Gov. Jeff Colyer has declared a State of Disaster Emergency for the state due to the high potential for wildland fires. The declaration allows state agencies to preposition firefighting assets and personnel in case wildland fires develop.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to an enhanced steady-state level 3. The SEOC is staffed by personnel from KDEM and the Kansas National Guard. They are in contact with the Office of the State Fire Marshal and Kansas Forest Service; no additional support has been requested at this time. The Kansas National Guard has UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and crews on standby.
Very high and extreme grassland fire danger is forecast across much of the state through Friday and perhaps into Saturday due to warmer temperatures, low relative humidity, and strong winds. A Red Flag warning has been issued by the National Weather service for numerous areas of the state. Any fires that start will have extreme fire behavior and the potential to spread rapidly.
KDEM officials are reminding Kansans to avoid any activity that could create a spark and start a new fire. Because open fires can quickly get out of control, even for experienced fire fighters, people should avoid open burning. For more information regarding the weather and a map of the red flag warning, click here.