Legislative Audit: Kansas Wildfire Response Underfunded, Understaffed

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A legislative audit said Kansas’s forest fire suppression system was inadequately financed and inadequate, and worked with fragmented leadership.

Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the inspectors were ordered after the wildfires of 2016 and 2017, causing more than $ 800 million damage and killing a person after burning more than 800,000 hectares in Kansas.

Auditor Andy Brienzo said that Kansas does not have enough resources to meet the service demand.

In Kansas, the local government takes the first responsibility in fighting fire. Kansas Emergency Directorate, State Fire Marshal Office, and Kansas Forest Service. Supervisors said that the three agencies are struggling to work in collaboration.

The auditors recommended that the legislature choose an agency to direct the government’s response to the forest fire and appropriately select the money to ensure that adequate resources are used to fight the fires.

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