USA — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a State of Disaster Emergency today because of a large wildfire in Ellsworth County. Saline County also was included in the declaration as the fire has been threatening that county as well. The declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan, authorizing state resources and funds to expedite emergency assistance statewide, as necessary.
The Ellsworth/Lincoln County Emergency Manager reported to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management’s State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka that a wildfire fire had burned several thousand acres before 6 p.m. and was threatening communities of Bavaria and Brookville in Saline County. Several campers were evacuated from Kanopolis Lake as a precaution this afternoon.
Kansas Highway Patrol aerial support was requested to provide aerial support to search for four hikers who were later found safe. The KHP aerial support is continuing to search for hotspots.
The state has requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant for Ellsworth County from FEMA. If approved, this provides the county grant funds to assist with expenditures related to fighting the fire.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management staff is continuing to monitor the situation and manage any requests for additional state resources needed to get the fire fully under control.
Additional grass fires were reported today including one in Reno County along the Rice/Reno County Line. It burned approximately 6,000 acres in the northwest part of the county and threatened several homes. Reno County Emergency Management reported firefighters were getting the fire under control around 7 p.m. Firefighters from Rice, Reno and Stafford County are assisting.
On Saturday, April 9, a grass fire in Greeley and Wallace counties was reported to the state. It started as a controlled burn south of the Greeley/Wallace County line west of Highway 27. Local officials report two firefighters were injured, and two mobile homes were lost along with a metal hay barn at a dairy. Mutual aid came from Hamilton, Wichita, Wallace and Logan Counties.
KDEM recommends Kansans closely monitor weather conditions, check the fire danger index and use appropriate fire precautions to prevent additional grass fires.