Kansas at extreme risk for out-of-control fires

TOPEKA — Forecasters are warning of an extreme risk of out-of-control fires across much of the state because of dry conditions and strong winds.

The National Weather Service says gusts of up to 55 mph are expected across the western and central part of the state Tuesday. Fire officials classified the grassland fire danger in central, south-central and southeast Kansas as extreme to catastrophic. The only areas where red flag fire warnings haven’t been issued are in northeast and far north-central.

A few fires already have been reported. In southwest Kansas, a wildfire in Clark County burned at least 1,600 acres Monday, and 10,000 hay bales burned Sunday in Stevens County.

Meteorologist Eric Schminke says that if the public heeds the warnings, the fires shouldn’t be as bad as last year’s record-setter.