The Kansas Division of Emergency Management continues to monitor the grass fires in south central Kansas and provide assistance as requested. The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka is activated at a 24-hour watch level and will remain so until further notice.
Current estimates indicate approximately 300,000 acres have been burned. No injuries or fatalities have been reported as a result of the fires, but four homes have been damaged or destroyed along with multiple outbuildings and an unknown number of livestock have been lost. Four bridges in Barber County have also been reported destroyed.
Barber, Comanche, Harvey and Reno Counties have all issued state of local disaster emergency declarations and Gov. Sam Brownback signed a State of Disaster Emergency declaration March 23 for all affected counties. The state requested and was granted a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant for Barber and Comanche Counties.
Incident Management Teams are at work in Barber and Harvey Counties to assist local authorities. KDEM has dispatched its Communication on Wheels vehicle to support communication needs for first responders in Barber and Comanche Counties.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is operating reconnaissance flights to watch for hot spots.
Citizens are asked to stay away from all fire areas to allow firefighters and other first responders to work.