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Agriculture

Kansas Lawmakers Pushing For Audit Over Wildfire Preparedness

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Bryan Thompson
/
Harvest Public Media

Record wildfires scorched south central and southwest Kansas in the last two years. The Kansas Legislature will investigate whether the state is equipped to fight such large fires.

According to the eight lawmakers pushing for the audit, in 2016 the Kansas Forest Service had about $1 million to spend on stopping wildfires – just a fraction of the budgets in better-prepared states.

Ranchers lost millions of dollars in fencing and livestock in 2016 and 2017.

Clark and Comanche counties alone saw more than half a million acres burned this spring.

The lawmakers fear people and property continue to be at risk because volunteer firefighters don’t have access to enough fire engines, helicopters and logistical support.