Extreme weather paves way for Kansas, Oklahoma fires
Ponca City Now - April 10, 2016 8:57 am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – An extreme combination of weather has created ideal fire conditions that have contributed to a spate of massive blazes in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Officials say grasslands were unusually lush after a wet 2015. But the unusually dry winter that followed has turned the vegetation into fuel for wildfires. Hundreds of thousands of acres have burned in the two states.
Oklahoma state climatologist Gary McManus said last year was the wettest on record in the state. But since January, rainfall in Oklahoma has been about 40 percent below normal.
Officials say similar conditions are affecting Kansas, particularly in the southwest part of the state. The first three months of 2016 are the sixth driest on record there, after the preceding May- to- July period was the third wettest.