Topeka Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has issued a state of disaster emergency for two counties where a massive grassfire burned more than 9,600 acres.
The fire on Sunday in Stevens and Haskell counties forced the evacuation of the town of Satanta and damaged public infrastructure in both counties. No serious injuries were reported. A final damage estimate has not been determined.
The governor on Thursday also issued a drought warning for 20 western Kansas counties and put 27 surrounding counties under a drought watch. The declarations will help the counties defray some costs of battling the fires and from parched conditions.
Counties under the drought warning include: Finney, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Gove, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Scott, Seward, Stanton, Stevens, Trego, Wallace and Wichita.
Those under a drought watch include: Barton, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Decatur, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Graham, Hodgeman, Jewel, Lincoln, Mitchell, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Sherman, Sheridan, Smith and Thomas.