Kansas firefighters responded Saturday to help in Oklahoma to help fight a large grass fire which prompted multiple evacuations.
According to the Kansas Forest Service, wildland fire personnel and Tanker 95 from the Kansas Forest Service responded to the 412 Fire in Beaver County, Oklahoma. The fire was was estimated at 10,000 acres according to the Oklahoma Forestry Service. Local officials had placed an evacuation in effect for Beaver, Oklahoma.
Multiple Kansas volunteer fire departments and the Clark County Wildland Fire Task Force were also on scene to assist local resources with the 412 Fire. In addition to the support of resources on scene, the 7 County Wildland Fire Task Force is in Meade County, Kansas, to provide fire response coverage while local fire departments assist with the 412 Fire.
“It is through partnerships we establish before a wildfire starts that we are able to provide mutual aid when the need arises,” said State Fire Management Officer Mark Neely.
KFS worked closely with Oklahoma Forestry Services to make resources available knowing that high fire danger days were in the forecast. Assigning resources across state lines is made possible by the Great Plains Interstate Fire Compact.
“Working through our State Emergency Operations Center, we were able to assess the potential risk for wildfires and determine which resources would be most valuable in controlling a large wildfire,” Neely said.
By providing assistance to the suppression efforts in Oklahoma, KFS wildland fire managers hope to prevent spread of the fire into Kansas.
The 412 Fire occurs one day after the three-year anniversary of the historical Starbuck Fire that burned across Oklahoma and Kansas. The Starbuck Fire burned more than 500,000 acres; state and county officials estimated at least $50 million in total damage as a result of that fire.
Since the major wildfires of 2017 and 2016, KFS along with state partners have been working diligently to ensure Kansas is prepared to respond and suppress wildfires.