The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will staff the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka at a full activation level overnight to monitor numerous grassfires across the state and coordinate assistance, if requested. The Highland fire in Reno County has rekindled.
High winds and dry conditions have resulted in extremely high danger of fire in all areas of the state. The public is urged to use extra caution when using flammable materials outside. Even slight spark or discarded cigarette may set off a fire that can be whipped to dangerous levels by the high winds.
There were active fires reported in Clark, Cheyenne, Comanche, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Hodgeman, Lane, Meade, Ness, Pratt, Pottawatomie, Rawlins, Reno, Rice, Rooks, Russell, Seward, Shawnee, Smith and Stevens Counties. Although some fires have been mostly contained, fire crews will still monitor the burned areas for flare-ups.
Federal Fire Management Assistance Grants have been approved for Clark, Comanche, Ellsworth, Ford, Ness and Rooks Counties. Additional requests may be made as the current emergencies continue.
FMAG grants are available to states, local and tribal governments, for the mitigation, management, and control of fires on publicly or privately owned forests or grasslands, which threaten such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. The program provides a 75 percent federal cost share and the state pays the remaining 25 percent for actual costs.
KDEM is seeking additional firefighting resources from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and from the National Forestry Service.
The Kansas National Guard deployed four Black Hawk helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation out of Salina equipped with 660-gallon Bambi buckets. Two of the helicopters were in Reno County assisting with fire suppression and the other two were on stand-by. Due to the weather conditions and evening hours they have returned to Salina for deployment in the morning.