Governor issues state of disaster emergency for wildland fires

Hot dry conditions across the state fanned the flames of wildland fires in Kearny County the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 4.

Governor Laura Kelly issued a verbal state of disaster emergency proclamation at 5:15 p.m. to facilitate aerial fire suppression.

Kansas Forest Service provided contracted aerial fire suppression support because ground crews weren’t able to access areas due to the rough terrain. KFS also sent a district fire management officer for ground communications.

Today there is a high risk of wildfires across the state. The declaration puts in place state assets that can be used if requested by county emergency managers. For this time of year fire concerns are elevated as the lack of precipitation continues and the high temperatures dried out and stressed the fuels. The growing season ending means fuels will be consistently losing moisture, making them more susceptible to ignition. Western and south-central Kansas has seen an uptick in initial attack, but the vast majority have been kept to a small size. Fires can really start growing if the wind aligns with the heat and relative humidity.

“As Kansas remains dry and warm, people need to take precautions when working or recreating outside to prevent fire starts,” said Mark Neely, State Fire Management Officer. “If a fire does start report it to 911 immediately.”

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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