Forestry Officials Urge Caution as Spring Wildfires Increase
Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) officials are urging caution after the spring forest fire hazard season, which began February 15, became more active up in the past three weeks. The KDF reports it has battled more than 189 forest fires, which have damaged more than 1,524 acres, since March 1.
“I urge the citizens of the Commonwealth to be cautious when they decide to burn outdoors,” said KDF Fire Management Chief Michael Froelich. “The record rains and low wildfire of the last few months are behind us. Wildfire danger increases with every day without measurable precipitation.”
Arson continues to be the leading cause of wildfires in Kentucky, and will again be a focus of the division. Fifty-two percent of the fires this year have been caused by arson. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officers will once again be assisting the division by investigating arson-caused wildfires.
People are urged to report any unusual activity they may see around a wildfire to local law enforcement. Debris fires that have gotten away from homeowners have caused 30 percent of this season’s fires.
Citizens are asked to take extra caution when burning outdoors during warm, dry and windy conditions. KRS 149.400 prohibits burning in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. If a citizen allows a fire to escape, they may be held liable for the fire suppression costs incurred by the state and county and for damage to property resulting from such fires.
People should contact their local fire department and the Division for Air Quality (DAQ) at 502-564-3999 if they have any questions about local restrictions regarding burning. For common questions regarding open burning, please visit DAQ’s web site at https://eec.ky.gov/Environmental-Protection/Air/Pages/Open-Burning.aspx.
For more information about fire hazard seasons, outdoor burning laws and safe burning practices, visit the DOF’s website at https://eec.ky.gov/Natural-Resources/Forestry/wildland-fire-management/Pages/default.aspx.