The Kansas Division of Emergency Management continues to monitor and provide resources to counties in Kansas that are battling wildland fires.
KDEM requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) through FEMA due to the Haddam Wildfire in Washington County. FEMA determined the Haddam Wildfire would constitute a major disaster and approved the request on April 13.
The FMAG provides a 75 percent federal cost share. Fire Management Assistance is 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.
Governor Laura Kelly issued a verbal declaration of disaster emergency April 12 due to wildland fires affecting parts of Kansas. KDEM activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a partial activation. Emergency Support Function partners have reported to the SEOC to provide support to county and local responders.
“The persistent drought is leaving the majority of Kansas very vulnerable to wildfires,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “It is important that we have resources on standby to assist local first responders get fires under control as quickly as possible.”
“Stay away from all affected areas and do not drive through heavy smoke,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM. “Sightseeing puts you in danger and hampers the work of firefighting crews.”
Wildfire resources including aviation from the Kansas Forest Service and Kansas Army National Guard will be available and prepared to response quickly to any requests for assistance.
Much of the state is still in a Red Flag warning with high wind advisory. A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and become very difficult to control. Outdoor burning is not recommended, and, in some areas, Burn Bans are in place.