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Preventing wildfires now important in Kansas, too

Kansas

The numbers 12,895 and 93,300 and 2 may seem random, but they all have meaning for Kansans.

"The first is the number of acres that have burned in large wildfires in Kansas in just the first two months (Jan. 1 to March 1) of this year," said Jason Hartman, fire prevention specialist with the Kansas Forest Service. "The second--$93,300--is the estimated cost for fighting those fires. The 2 is the number of weeks still to go before we typically enter the Kansas wildfire season."

Early 2009 fires were reported from counties as wide-ranging as Riley, Leavenworth and Lyon.

Combined with dry conditions through much of the state, 2009 is showing signs of being an unusual fire season for the state, Hartman said.

He is urging Kansans to be extra cautious with outdoor activities that might start a wildfire.

"Before grilling, welding, using a cutting torch, using power tools--and certainly before doing any kind of trash, brush or field burning--please check with your local fire and emergency management officials to see if conditions are safe to do so," Hartman said.

The area's National Weather Service Office website maintains current information on fire weather watches and warnings. Information on wildfire protection and planning is available at local fire departments and the Kansas Forest Service website: www.kansasforests.org.



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