Governor Laura Kelly has issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for several western Kansas counties due to an increased risk of wildland fires. The Governor issued the declaration in order to coordinate state personnel and assets to assist local authorities if needed. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is monitoring the situation and will coordinate response efforts from the State Emergency Operations Center.
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for counties along the Kansas-Colorado border due to a combination of dry conditions, high temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds, which significantly elevate the threat of wildland fires.
The counties named in the declaration are Cheyenne, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Logan, Morton, Scott, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita. Other counties may be added later if warranted.
“Conditions across Kansas are prime for wildland fires with areas experiencing hot, dry conditions,” Kelly said. “This declaration will allow the state to use whatever resources we have available to mitigate the risks and respond to fires, should they occur, in support of local emergency responders.”
The Kansas National Guard will preposition UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with 660-gallon collapsible water buckets. The Kansas Forest Service is coordinating the use of the tanker and agriculture pilots in case they are needed.