Strong winds pose high fire danger in Kansas by mid-week

After a weekend fire, crews in Butler County say they're preparing for what Wednesday's high winds could bring.
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Lack of rain and high winds could put much of Kansas at risk for high fire danger by the middle of this week.

Sunday in Butler County firefighters put out a 600-acre grass fire that was caused by dry conditions in the area. This week, the threat increases. That’s why a High Wind Watch has been issued for Wednesday with winds that could top 60 mph.

Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen says it’s been a little over a month since Wichita received rain creating extremely dry conditions. Add in high wind, and the fire danger is expected to be even greater.

Kansas Forest Services Officer of Operations, Rodney Redinger, says he wants those in the area to stay alert, saying the weather could cause serious damage. Brush and dead vegetation are usually what catch fire first and quickest.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten any sort of significant moisture, so everything is really dry, the air mass is going to be really dry, the winds are going to be very strong,” said Redinger.

Butler County Emergency Management Director, Keri Korthals, also says these warnings should be taken seriously.

“High winds and the dryness. All that comes together to pretty much make that perfect storm of high fire danger. After having the fire yesterday, that puts it really fresh in your mind that when that wind gets going how fast fires can actually move,” said Korthals.

Redinger says you can help minimize the chance of grass fires by staying away from flames completely on Wednesday. He also warns to avoid activities as simple as barbecuing.

“Anything that is going to cause a spark, just put it off for 24 hours,” he said.

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