TOPEKA, Kan. - The drought that has gripped much of the Midwest brought Kansas leaders together Friday in Topeka. They met to figure out how the state can survive when the rain has yet to fall.
"Basically, don't light an outdoor fire in Kansas," Gov. Sam Brownback said. "This situation is a powder keg."
Wednesday's 120-acre grass fire in Johnson County proves it.
Kansas Adjutant Gen. Lee Tafanelli said that's why everyone should be prepared to fight the drought.
"Individuals (should) have hoses hooked onto external hydrants and try to have 50-100 feet of hose hooked on in case something does happen or gets close to residences," Tafanelli said.
Outside of town, the state is trying to help farmers and ranchers find water by providing money to dig wells and rehabilitate ponds, so they can keep their livestock living. The Department of Agriculture has fielded nearly $4.5 million in requests, but only has $1.5 million at most.
Agriculture losses are expected to top last year's number of $2.1 billion because this year's drought is more widespread.
"The drought of 2012 is of historic proportions and demands cooperation from all Kansans to respond, recover and plan for the future," Brownback said.
He said water conservation is one area where Kansans can help. Many water districts are currently under voluntary restrictions, but with lower reservoir levels and water drying up, Brownback said he expects many efforts to become mandatory.
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