Risk of wildfires has Black Hawk helicopters on standby


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The State Emergency Operations Center has directed the Kansas Army National Guard to have two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters on standby in Salina in case they are needed to fight wildfires today and tomorrow.

The state says the threat for a potentially dangerous situation exists due to a combination of northwest winds gusting to 65 mph, blowing dust producing reduced visibilities, and critical fire weather conditions.

Helicopters helped firefighters get control of a wildfire in Harvey County over the weekend.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a state of disaster emergency declaration Saturday because of the chance for fires in counties in western Kansas.

“Placing resources such as these helicopters on standby help the state respond more quickly if a fire begins to spread,” she said.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is asking Kansans to take care not to accidentally start a fire with a carelessly discarded cigarette or an unattended charcoal grill.

Most of the viewing area is under a Fire Weather Watch through Wednesday afternoon.

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