MANHATTAN – In support of the firefighting efforts on the Cherry Creek Fire in Cheyenne County, the Kansas Forest Service has deployed a firefighting air tanker plane in addition to two Kansas-based aerial agricultural applicators that are being used to drop water on fires as part of the suppression effort.
This marks the first assignment of Air Tanker 95 to a fire in Kansas through the “call when needed” assistance made possible by state funding for wildfire suppression, which was approved in the last session of the Kansas State Legislature.
“We hope to never have to fight a large wildfire in Kansas,” said State Fire Management Officer Mark Neely. “But when local authorities request assistance, we are thankful we have the resources available to support them.”
Air Tanker 95 is a double-engine Grumman S-2 based in Hutchinson and owned by Bill Garrison. It has a capacity of 800 gallons of water and was previously owned and used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Updates and additional information on the Cherry Creek Fire can be found on the Cheyenne – Rawlins – Sherman) County Emergency Management Facebook page.
Firefighting efforts managed by the Cheyenne County Fire Districts and the Cheyenne County Emergency Manager are being supported by the newly hired District Fire Management Officer, Chris Hanson, who covers the northwest region of the state.
“The coordination between agencies to bring ground and air resources together has had a significant impact on our ability to work toward controlling this fire,” said Hanson. “We look forward to being able to serve local fire departments and emergency managers with the coordination of these resources to prevent wildfires from being coming catastrophic events.”
Two other KFS Fire Protection Specialists, Matt Jones and Renette Saba, were requested by the local emergency manager to provide support for on-the-ground firefighting operations and in-air operations.