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.”