Governor issues State of Disaster Emergency for wildland fires

Feb. 15, 2022 | By Bailey Hittle

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a verbal declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency at 1:55 p.m. Tuesday due to a high risk of wildland fires and red flag warnings in the majority of Kansas counties.

The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria.

The majority of the state 's fire weather outlook for this week is in the Elevated or Critical categories. Conditions across the state are dry with low relative humidity, gusting winds, and an abundance of dry grass and other flammable vegetation.

“Fire season is in full-force, and we must all do our part to protect our fellow Kansans,” Kelly said. “Exercise caution and do not do any burning at this time. Remember it only takes a spark to start a fire that can quickly get out of control with the high winds.”

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management State Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation and will assist counties with requests for state assistance. 

Kansas Forest Service personnel are assisting with fires in Reno and Geary counties. They will also have Tanker 95 on standby along with ground resources.

"It has already been a long fire season and it's good to see strong partnerships and cooperation in providing the assistance needed,” said Jason Hartman, Kansas State Forester. “There is a long season still in front of us, it's necessary to be diligent and safe.”