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Kansas Dry Conditions Spark Wildfire Worries

Image from the Kansas Forest Service

MARQUETTE, Kan. (AP) — Officials worry this year's potential for a fire outbreak in Kansas could be worse than last year, when the state saw its biggest known wildfire. Jim Unruh, a volunteer fire department chief in Marquette, helped fight last year's Anderson Creek blaze that charred 390,000 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma. Unruh tells The Wichita Eagle that this year "just scares me," because of already dry conditions and a lot of fuel on some pastures. Problems already have surfaced. Unruh's crew last month battled a wildfire of 3,600 acres. Kansas Forest Service fire specialist Eric Ward says the state had three "large" wildfires in January, defined as a fire that burns at least 100 acres of trees or more than 300 acres of brush. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for virtually the entire state of Kansas today (SAT), citing unseasonably warm temperatures, low relative humidity, and strong wind gusts. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly and become very difficult to control. Outdoor burning is not recommended. The Kansas Forest Services suggests that anyone who participated in any burning over the past few days remain vigilant over the site to make sure no embers are still present.

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