Gov. Sam Brownback signed the final State of Disaster Emergency declaration Monday for 20 Kansas counties affected by wildfires that burned more than 651,000 acres across the state, according to a media release from the State Adjutant General’s office.
The declaration covers the period beginning March 4 and continuing. The declaration amends the previous declaration he made for three counties on March 5.
Named in the declaration are Barber, Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Harvey, Hodgeman, Lane, Lincoln, McPherson, Meade, Ness, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Rooks, Russell, and Seward Counties.
One death was attributed to the fires due to smoke inhalation and 11 injuries were reported. According to initial damage reports, more than 40 homes were destroyed along with an unknown number of outbuildings. One bridge in Meade County and three bridges in Clark County were also destroyed in addition to miles of fencing, utility poles and other structures. An unknown number of livestock were also killed.
The declaration activates the response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan. Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments are being conducted to seek a major presidential disaster declaration.