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Kansas National Guard, Kansas Forest Service to assist with fire suppression efforts

Firefighters worked Wednesday to put out a wildfire in Ellis County on Highway 183 south of the...
Firefighters worked Wednesday to put out a wildfire in Ellis County on Highway 183 south of the Saline River.(KWCH)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 10:52 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Army National Guard and Kansas Forest Service have been deployed to help fight wildfires in multiple counties in western and central Kansas, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management announced on Thursday.

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency on Thursday, Dec. 9 due to elevated dangers of wildland fires. The disaster declaration makes the KNG and KFS deployment possible.

The Kansas National Guard will send UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to key locations to assist local responders. The helicopters are equipped with collapsible buckets used to draw water from water sources to drop on areas that are difficult for ground crews to reach. The Kansas Forest will have additional single-engine air tankers on standby along with ground resources.

The elevated risk for wildland fires across central and western portions of Kansas continues into Thursday and Friday. The majority of the state is either in an Enhanced Fire Danger outlook, Significant Fire Danger outlook, or Critical Fire Danger outlook/forecast. Conditions across the state are dry with low relative humidity, gusting winds, and an abundance of dry grass and other flammable vegetation.

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