18-017 Firefighting operations continue across the state

Several counties across Kansas experienced wildland fires this morning through the afternoon. Most of the wildland fires reported occurred in Southwest, North Central, Southeast and South Central regions of the state. The National Weather Service forecast this area as a critical to catastrophic risk for fires with high winds, high wind gusts and low relative humidity.

Fires began around 10 a.m., dying down with the winds around 6 p.m. Twenty-one fires have been extinguished over the course of two days, 10 are in final cleanup and 16 are contained. An estimated 25,000 acres have burned to date. Many highways in Northwest Kansas were closed for a short time this afternoon due to blowing dirt. All highways are open at this time.

Two Kansas Army National Guard Blackhawks with collapsible water buckets were deployed to Ellis County to support local firefighting operations. An EMS/fire tower tumbled in Logan County. A Communications on Wheels unit was deployed to Oakley, but the county was able to contact a private sector partner and a repeater was installed on the water tower. The state resource was demobilized.

The SEOC will be staffed tonight and it is anticipated that operations will return to normal sometime tomorrow.