TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas governor has made a verbal declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency due to weather conditions that increase the risk of wildland fires.

The conditions for fires in south-central and southwest Kansas are extreme today. As a result, there are 26 counties in Red Flag warning throughout Kansas today.

Red Flag warning on Dec. 10, 2021. (KSN Image)

The National Weather Service in Wichita has issued a Fire Weather Watch for extreme grassland fire danger, in effect until Friday evening. Winds are projected to be westerly from 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph; relative humidity may be as low as 25%.

Gov. Laura Kelly’s declaration will allow the state to preposition firefighting assets in key areas.

“Getting ahead of any potential fires is key in containing them,” she said in a news release. “Prepositioning firefighting personnel and equipment will allow us to do that and keep Kansans safe.”

“Much of Kansas is primed for wildfire due to the lack of precipitation, dried out fuels, and warm windy conditions,” said Mark Neely, state fire management officer, Kansas Forest Service. “We urge Kansans to be careful outdoors and report any fire immediately.”