High risk of wildfires expected across Kansas this weekend

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 8:30 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has issued a State Disaster Emergency declaration due to a high risk of wildfires expected over the weekend.

The declaration went into effect at 8 a.m. Friday morning and allows the state to use resources and personnel to assist with the response and recovery efforts.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management said the threat of wildfires covers most of the state as forecasters predict dry conditions, low relative humidity, gusting winds, dry grass, and flammable vegetation.

Governor Kelly said, “As we have seen in past years, wildland fires can cause widespread destruction and present a very real threat to life and property. Outdoor burning of any kind is strongly discouraged, whether getting rid of unwanted brush or enjoying a backyard barbecue. It only takes a spark to start a fire that can quickly get out of control.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center said it will be staffed on Saturday and Sunday to monitor the situation and assist counties with requests for state assistance. Kansas Forest Service will also be on standby.

“Critical fire weather returns to Kansas earlier than normal this year,” Rodney Redinger, Kansas Forest Service Assistant Fire Management Officer said. “With harvest and hunting in full swing, there is an increased chance for human caused ignition sources. On Sunday, fires will ignite easily and be extremely hard to contain, especially in the western portions of the state. Vegetation barriers that normally slow or stop fires will carry fire easily due to the drought and low humidity. Please be aware of the conditions and take every precaution necessary to prevent any fires this weekend.”