Leavenworth County has a new task force that can deploy to other parts of Kansas to battle wildfires.

Leavenworth County has a new task force that can deploy to other parts of Kansas to battle wildfires.

The team had its first readiness drill last week, according to Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

“Hopefully, we don't have to use them,” Magaha said.

But given drought outlooks across the state, Magaha acknowledged the task probably will be needed in the near future.

Officially called KS LVX-WTF 01, the wildland task force is made up of members from Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 and the fire departments of the Fairmount, Kickapoo, Sherman and Tonganoxie townships.

“They all volunteered for that position,” Magaha said.

When deploying, the task force members will be utilizing equipment from their local fire departments.

“Trucks have to meet certain criteria,” Magaha said. “The firefighters have to meet certain criteria.”

If the team is deployed, Leavenworth Fire District No. 1 Chief Rick Huhn will serve as the team's division supervisor, and he will oversee the task force once it is deployed.

The task force was assembled as part of a statewide initiative. During the last two years, the state has experienced large wildfires, Magaha said.

The Leavenworth County task force was put together in November.

As part of last week's readiness drill, members were sent notification at 3 p.m. Thursday. They were asked to assemble at 5:30 p.m. at a Tonganoxie Township fire station.

“We pulled everybody together,” Magaha said.

The task force was asked to prepare for a fictional wildfire in Russell County, and the group's equipment was inspected.

“We want to make sure our team is as ready as possible,” Magaha said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR