Over the last few years, wildfires have become more common in Kansas, straying away from a typical wildfire season.
“I always say six days after hard frost is typically when our wildfire season starts in the state of Kansas, but we’re in it right now. We’ve been running brush fires weekly,” said Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer.
The Governor’s Wildfire Task Force is searching for ways to improve mitigation and recovery efforts.
“Any type of burnable vegetation, how we can manage those so if there is a fire started landowners property homes, communities can be just more resilient by not having the amount of hazardous fuels that should be there?” said Mark Neely, Kansas Forest Service, State Fire Management Officer.
“Whether it be a task force, whether it be aerial assets, we can actually pre-position some things in different parts of the state. So they are closer to where we think the wildfires might happen, and that way, we have a quicker response,” said State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen
But to ramp up mitigation efforts, Chief Beer says they need more funding, “Without that support, things are not going to change, and so that’s what this group was here to do is to try to find that funding support.”
Members are hoping you will do your part.
“Clean their leaves away from their houses, clean the gutters out. You know, in the wintertime or during high fire days, maybe bring in some of that flammable lawn furniture,” Neely said.
“Whatever you can do to help your fire department prevent your house from burning down,” Beer said.
A common theme from everyone on the task force is to pay attention to the weather. Do not burn on red flag days, and make sure you check the forecast beyond the day you plan to burn.