Governor issues state of disaster emergency for wildland fires

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has issued a state of disaster emergency for wildland fires as dry, warm conditions and high-speed winds roll across the state.

Elevated to critical fire weather is expected over the next four days.

Kelly’s order allows and prepares state resources and personnel to “help the state respond more quickly if a fire begins to spread,” she said.

Angee Morgan, deputy director of Kansas Division of Emergency Management, warned residents about behavior that could unintentionally start fires.

“Avoid any activity that could create a spark and touch off a fire. Do not drive on or stop your car on dry or tall grass and do not throw cigarettes on the ground,” Morgan said.

The Kansas National Guard is pre-staging firefighting assets for a rapid response. It includes four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with collapsible water buckets with joint terminal attack controller support and a water tender team.

Kansas Forest Service also has Tanker 95 on standby and is checking the availability of agriculture pilots. The Kansas Forest Service is also checking the availability of firefighting resources in cooperating states through the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact – a cooperative plan allowing the movement of state resources across state lines.

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