Fires raced through grasslands in Kansas this week, drawing the National Guard, which captured this photo.
A series of wildfires have burned thousands of acres of grasslands in Kansas this week, and while relief might be in sight, there’s still a full day of volatile conditions ahead, officials say.
“Friday will be a very dangerous day for fire weather in many areas of the state. Some areas will see catastrophic fire weather conditions,” the Kansas Division of Emergency Management said.
Most of the state is under red flag or high wind warnings with forecast to gusts up to 40 mph in some areas Friday. Temperatures around 70 degrees are expected to drop into the 50s this weekend, with rain in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service.
Fires erupted Wednesday. Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer made an emergency declaration for three of the fires burning in Rice County and deployed Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard to assist in the response.
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) March 15, 2018
According to The Wichita Eagle, state officials tracked 45 fires across the state on Thursday alone, with several breaking out in the Kansas City area. The fires burned an estimated 13,000 acres, and many remained active or out of control.
One of the farms we visted today was the site of the incredible wall of fire in this photo. I am amazed at the resiliency of Kansans and our ability to come back stronger after facing adversity. #ksleg pic.twitter.com/UT8STBrfcX
— Governor Jeff Colyer (@GovJeffColyer) March 15, 2018
More detailed assessments of acreage or causes were not immediately available.
About 20 percent of the state is classified as being under an “extreme drought,” according to the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
#USDroughtMonitor released today shows extreme drought conditions now covers almost 20% @StateofKS. Severe drought expanded to 56%, moderate drought covers additional 26%. Fire danger continues & is #Redflag today. #KSDrought @DroughtCenter @KansasDeptofAg @KansasEmergency @NOAA pic.twitter.com/BpTLeYOW4O
— Kansas Water Office (@kswateroffice) March 15, 2018