Kansas sends firefighters to SD in anticipation of increased wildfire starts


photo courtesy: Kansas Forest Service

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A 10-person group of wildland firefighters from Kansas have been assigned to pre-position in South Dakota for up to three weeks, as dry conditions, gusty winds, and low humidity elevate fire weather conditions.

The wildland fire suppression specialists focus on assisting with wildfire suppression, removing vegetation and fuels, and other fire management duties. They’re also equipped to provide an initial response if a fire starts.

When weather conditions are favorable for new wildfires, fire-management officials can request resources for a severity assignment – similar to the way severe weather warnings are issued – to allow for the staging of resources in an area that is expected to need additional help.

“KFS wildland fire staff took the initiative then dedicated their time and energy to create the suppression module” said State Forester Jason Hartman. “We are very excited to see that hard work be put to use helping others.”

The creation of the Kansas State Fire Module and its resulting assignments helps provide firefighters the opportunity to train in ways they might not have been able to. The South Dakota assignment is KSFM’s first.

33 large fires have burned more than 360,000 acres across 10 states as of June 16, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. With the increase in fire activity, personnel and equipment become scarcer – resulting in a shortage of needed resources.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News