Kansas Legislature approves plans to share firefighting resources with neighboring states

Apr 3, 2017

Credit Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle

A new law passed by the Kansas Legislature could allow Kansas to share firefighting resources with neighboring states like Oklahoma.

As The Wichita Eagle  reports, HB 2140 has already been approved by the House and the Senate, and is now waiting for Governor Sam Brownback’s signature. Similar proposals have languished in Kansas for two years, and the sharing capability would have been helpful this month as the biggest fires in state history raged across the High Plains.

Rodney Redinger, who led the firefighting efforts at Anderson Creek last year, praised the bill in testimony, saying without it “coordination of resources from outside the state of Kansas [is] challenging and nearly impossible.”

Last year, Oklahoma offered to let Kansas use a firefighter plane to battle a blaze, but Kansas was forced to say no. Turning down Oklahoma put the lives of Kansas firefighters at risk, Redinger said.