Members of the Marion County Wildland Fire Task Force work on a progressive hose lay. Fourteen members of the task force participated in the dispatch exercise for the Kansas Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Mitigation Project on March 26, 2019. | Download this photo.
Kansas Forest Service assists with Wildland Fire Task Forces response exercise
Firefighters from two counties participate in hazardous fuels mitigation project
March 28, 2019
SEDAN, Kansas – The Marion County and Johnson County Wildland Fire Task Forces were ordered Tuesday to the Kansas Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Mitigation Project.
The mitigation project reduced the risk of wildfire on the Quivira Scout Ranch while providing training to wildland firefighters and the county task forces.
“The exercise gave us an opportunity to test the response system and discover any potential weaknesses before we have a true wildland fire emergency response,” said Incident Command Trainee and Hutchinson Fire Department Captain Troy Mueller.
Dispatching these resources is a process administered through the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.
Both county task forces were called to the mitigation project on Tuesday with the intent of them integrating into the existing operational plan on Wednesday. As part of the operational plan, the task forces received training in wildland firefighting tactics including mop-up procedures to secure the prescribed burns conducted on Monday and Tuesday.
A total of 35 firefighters joined the mitigation project: 14 from Marion County and 21 from Johnson County. The counties represent two highly trained groups of firefighters in the state with two different staffing structures. The Marion County Wildland Task Force is entirely made up of volunteers, while the Johnson County Wildland Task Force is fully staffed by career firefighters.
“We were able to further our partnerships and integrate rural and urban task forces with the Kansas Forest Service Incident Management Team on a pre-planned incident,” said KFS State Fire Management Officer Mark Neely.
KFS is tasked with training, equipping, providing financial assistance for local fire departments on wildland fire. KFS also supports programs in fuel mitigation and public education. The annual mitigation project and integration of the task force activation is one of the ways KFS meets those objectives.