Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact request issued to support Kansas firefighters

Additional firefighting resources are now available for use in Kansas through the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact.

Since March 7, several large wildfires have occurred in the northeast part of the state, stretching local fire departments that are largely made of volunteers.

“We want to do all we can to support the men and women that are full-time and volunteer firefighters. Bringing in additional resources will hopefully allow them time to get some well-deserved rest before they are called on again,” said Kansas State Forester Jason Hartman.

The resources include three engines and a task force leader from Wyoming, one engine from South Dakota and two engines from Colorado.

“By sharing resources across state lines, we can better serve our citizens in times of need,” Hartman said.

The Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact provides the state forester or other designated authority access to request resources and assistance to supplement local resources in times of critical fire conditions. Kansas Forest Service officials made a request to the Compact, in coordination with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and other partners in the State Emergency Operations Center.

“The Kansas Response Plan allows for coordination and partnerships between local, county and state agencies. It allows us to pre-stage equipment so that we can more rapidly respond in situations like this,” said Jeff Welshans, State Emergency Operations Center manager.

The Compact resources are available to assist as fire weather across the state has been elevated to critical through March 11.