As wildfires burn in multiple counties across the state, the State Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor and coordinate assistance for the affected counties.
The counties of Clark, Ellis, Ellsworth, Hodgeman, Lincoln, Reno, Rooks, and Russell are battling active fires. Fires in Clark County have destroyed more than 351,000 acres of land. Damage has been reported to approximately 30 structures and bridges in the county. Additional damage assessment will be completed when crews can enter restricted areas.
Ford County reports seven homes were destroyed. The fire department monitored hotspots overnight to keep fire away from structures.
Reno County officials estimate 6,000 acres have burned in the county; 4,500 acres of that is from the Highlands Area subdivision grassfire.
An estimated 10,240 acres have burned in Rooks County. Two homes were destroyed. The grassfire is contained and fire departments have a plan to monitor hotspots.
A bridge in Meade County was also reported destroyed.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management has deployed their Communications on Wheels vehicles to Reno and Clark Counties to assist with communication with area residents. Reno County has also requested the Geospatial Information System vehicle to provide mapping support for the local incident commander in Hutchinson.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is urging anyone wishing to contribute to disaster relief efforts ongoing in Kansas to donate cash to disaster relief organizations rather than donating goods. KDEM recommends Kansans consider donating to reputable disaster relief organizations of their choice or local organizations within the affected communities.
FEMA has approved Federal Fire Management Assistance Grants for the Clark, Comanche, Ellsworth, Ford, Lincoln, Ness, Rooks, and Russell County fires. 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 has received additional firefighting resources from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and from the National Forestry Service. A Type II Incident Management Team will arrive from South Dakota later today.
Four helicopters equipped with 660-gallon Bambi buckets launched at daylight today to continue to assist affected counties with fire suppression. Two helicopters and crews are based out of Topeka and two are out of Salina.
The American Red Cross opened shelters for displaced residents in Coldwater and Dodge City. Current plans call for those shelters to shut down today. The shelter at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, 2000 N Poplar Street, in Hutchinson will remain open until further notice.
A shelter also was opened in Jetmore at the 4-H Building on the Hodgeman County Fairgrounds.
There were multiple road closures due to the fires; all roads are currently open. Information on road closures is available from the Kansas Department of Transportation by calling 5-1-1 or visiting the Kandrive website at kandrive.org.
Live updates from the State Emergency Operations Center will be broadcast on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/kansasemergency) throughout the day.