Governor Kelly issues State of Disaster Emergency due to wildfire potential

April 5, 2022 | By Bailey Hittle

Weather conditions for the coming six-day period indicate a significant threat for wildland fires in Kansas. Due to this potential, Governor Laura Kelly has issued a State of Disaster Emergency for the state.

“This declaration will allow our state agencies to pre-position firefighting equipment and extra manpower in areas considered to be at the greatest risk,” said Kelly. “I urge all Kansans to be aware of the potential for wildland fires and to use caution when using campfires, grills and other open fires. A single spark may touch off a fire that can have devastating effects. Please keep yourself and your community safe and use extra precautions anytime you are doing any burning.”

Kansas County Wildland Fire Task Forces and Kansas Forest Service staff and resources will be pre-positioned throughout the state for a more rapid response.

Significant northern/northwesterly winds are expected Tuesday through Friday. Gusts will likely exceed 60 mph on Wednesday and Thursday in the Northwest, 50 mph elsewhere. Very dry conditions are also forecast with minimum humidity in the teens each day for all but far Eastern Kansas. Extreme to critical fire conditions are expected for much of Kansas.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka will be activated Tuesday, April 5, to an enhanced monitoring status to keep in contact with county emergency managers.

“With critical to extreme fire conditions, we must consider the safety of all Kansans and be extra cautious with any ignition sources,” said Jason Hartman, Kansas state forester. “To keep everyone safe in these conditions, it will take awareness, planning, coordination, and preparation at the local, county and state levels.

“State resources will be ready to respond, if requested. However, those first few hours will be critical in stopping a catastrophic wildfire. Please, report fires immediately.”