The Kentucky Division of Forestry is preparing for fall wildfire season. Wildfires in Kentucky threaten damage to homes, private property, trees and landscapes. More importantly, they place lives at risk, including those of firefighters. The vast majority of Kentucky’s wildfires are preventable, the result of arson and careless open-burning (burning of trash, debris and brush).
Despite a wet beginning to fall, with more than nine inches of rain falling in Lexington in the month of September, and nearly seven inches falling in Jackson County in September, weather conditions can change quickly and become favorable to wildfire activity.
“Moderate amounts of rain in a timely manner, rather than flooding, will help to keep the wildfire danger lower throughout the fall,” Division of Forestry Director James Wright said. “But if things do dry out, the Division will be prepared to respond to wildfires.”
State law restricts open burning within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the fall and spring wildfire hazard seasons, which run from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15, and from Feb. 15 to April 30, respectively. By restricting burning until after 6 p.m. during the fall and spring, winds are typically lower and the humidity is higher, making outdoor fires more manageable and less likely to become wildfires.
Arson continues to be the leading cause of wildfires in Kentucky, and will again be a focus of the division. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officers will once again be assisting the division by investigating arson-caused wildfires.
“The partnership with Fish and Wildlife allows us to increase our ability to put professional investigators on arson cases,” Wright said. “A single arsonist can set multiple fires and it is important to find and prosecute them.”
Arson is a felony and anyone convicted of arson can face fines and imprisonment.
Anyone considering doing outdoor burning should read the Kentucky Division for Air Quality’s web page on open burning here, or call the Division for Air Quality at 502-782-6592 to learn about other specific regulations before burning