Warm, windy and dangerous? Here’s when, where KS fire risk is forecast for later this week

It will be sunny, warmer and windier Thursday and Friday — with the potential for grass fires in Wichita and other parts of Kansas.

Both days could see strong wind gusts with Friday posing the greater threat, said National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Pierce.

Thursday is expected to have a high of 66 and wind speeds between 20-35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Pierce said strong wind gusts are what drives up the fire risk.

That fire risk starts around noon Thursday and will continue until sunset. Areas affected include north central, south central and southeast Kansas with the greatest risk in north central Kansas, Pierce said.

The National Weather Service in Wichita monitors 26 Kansas counties. Pierce said all of those counties have a risk for fire danger.

A slight break after 1 a.m. will see a 30% percent chance of isolated thunderstorms in southeast Kansas before the greater fire risk on Friday.

The high Friday is expected to be 71 with wind speeds around 25-35 mph and wind gusts up to 60 mph, Pierce said.

Fire risk danger for Friday is forecast from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Wichita and parts of south central and southeast Kansas with the highest danger in the afternoon, Pierce said.

A fire weather watch issued by the National Weather Service in Wichita for extreme grassland fire danger will be in effect all day Friday. The watch lists Butler, Greenwood, Kingman, Sedgwick, Harper, Sumner, Cowley, Elk and Chautauqua counties.

Any fires that erupt in these areas “will likely spread rapidly and become very difficult to control,” the watch says.

Sedgwick County will be under a burn ban during April, which starts Saturday. During this time, no open burn permits will be issued and no current permit holders will be allowed to burn.

Open burns will start back up in May. Exceptions to the burn ban include pasture, crop, range and wildlife or watershed management.