TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) – Governor Laura Kelly issued a declaration of disaster emergency due to the potential for wildfires in the state Friday and Saturday.

Gov. Kelly issued the verbal declaration Thursday morning. The declaration will allow the state to preposition aerial firefighter assets from the Kansas Forest Service for a quicker response to any fires that may begin.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a partial level Friday morning to keep in contact with county emergency offices and monitor weather conditions.  

“I urge all Kansans to be vigilant,” said Kelly. “Even a single spark is enough to touch off a fire that can spread rapidly and destroy farmland, homes and public infrastructures.”

According to the National Weather Service Office in Topeka, strong winds and low relative humidity with and abundance of dry vegetation will again cause extreme fire danger across central Kansas over the weekend.

“Conditions for significant wildfires are at an historic high across Kansas,” said Mark Neely, Fire Management Officer for Kansas Forest Service. “Any ignition source could cause a wildfire that will grow rapidly and burn aggressively. Help your local firefighters by check and rechecking previously completed brush piles and make sure they are completely extinguished.”