Kansas Governor Issues Disaster Emergency Declaration Due to Wildfire Danger

TOPEKA – Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a disaster emergency declaration due to the risk of wild fires the next couple of days.

Kelly signed the declaration Thursday morning which runs thought March 7th.

According to the National Weather Service Office in Wichita, strong winds, low humidity and dry conditions will increase the risk of wild fires.

“In recent years, we have seen the devastation wildland fires can cause across the state,” Governor Kelly said. “They destroy crops and grazing land, and may threaten homes and lives. 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.”

Experts are asking farmers to not burn, and in some cases, counties have banned burning due to the risk.

The state has also partially activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka. That means it will be staffed through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“When wildland fires have occurred in the past, we have seen tremendous cooperation from all state agencies to prevent or respond to them,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “Local responders work heroically to respond when wildland fires threaten their communities and the state stands ready to back them up, if needed.”

They are also asking Kansans to reduce using outdoor grills and make sure you properly discard all smoking materials.