Governor issues declaration of disaster emergency due to threat of wildland fires

March 3, 2022 | By Bailey Hittle

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a verbal declaration of disaster emergency this morning, March 3, due to the potential for wildland fires in the state on Friday and Saturday. The declaration will allow the state to preposition aerial firefighting assets from the Kansas Forest Service for a quicker response to any fires that may begin.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a partial level Friday morning to keep in contact with county emergency offices and monitor weather conditions. According to the National Weather Service Office in Topeka, strong winds and low relative humidity with an abundance of dry vegetation will once again cause extreme fire danger across central Kansas Saturday afternoon.

“I urge all Kansans to be vigilant,” said Kelly. “Even a single spark is enough to touch off a fire that can spread rapidly and destroy farmland, homes and public infrastructure.”

“Conditions for significant wildfires are at an historic high across Kansas," said Mark Neely, Fire Management Officer for Kansas Forest Service. “Any ignition source could cause a wildfire that will grow rapidly and burn aggressively. Help your local firefighters by checking and rechecking previously completed brush piles to make sure they are completely extinguished."