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Johnson County firefighters help battle wildfires in central Kansas

Posted at 9:22 PM, Apr 14, 2023

OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County firefighters are helping put out raging wildfires in central Kansas.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a disaster declaration due to wildfire danger.

One impacted area is in Washington County in north central Kansas.

“They had a wildfire start yesterday that caused a significant threat to the town," said Bryce Haverkamp, with the Kansas Forest Service. "It caused some evacuations."

Members of the Johnson County Taskforce are in the community helping volunteer firefighters.

“What they’re doing is a lot of that dirty work — they’re in the timber, they’re cutting trees down," Haverkamp said. "They’re mopping up hot spots and it takes a lot of manpower."

Haverkamp explained dry conditions and fatigue are major challenges firefighters are dealing with.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, southern and central Kansas are in the highest drought level at exceptional.

As firefighters continue to fighting the wildfires, Haverkamp ask people to be aware of the conditions to avoid more fires.

“Just a single spark from a lawnmower hitting a rock while you’re mowing the grass, or throwing a cigarette out the window, or dragging a chain or pulling a trailer — just a simple spark right now will cause a fire to rapidly grow," Haverkamp said.