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 Forest Fire Risks Likely Throughout the Area

WESTERN Ky. (03/31/2015) – Each year, local firefighters are prepared to battle potentially severe forest fires during the Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season. This Spring, it appears that the risks are a bit higher than normal.

There have been several brush fires reported, and battled, over the past few days throughout the area. That, along with upcoming forecasts, has inspired the Division of Forestry to remind local citizens that we are in a potentially dangerous time frame for fires.

Since March 16, the division has battled more than 98 forest fires, damaging more than 1,320 acres. This week’s weather forecast is cause for concern.

"The forecast for warmer, dryer weather this week has the division concerned about the potential for an additional increase in forest fires,” said Leah W. MacSwords, Kentucky’s state forester.

Arson is the cause of the majority of the forest fires in Kentucky, and the division actively investigates the cause of any wildfire. Through a partnership with the Bell County Forestry Camp, multiple bloodhounds and handlers are now available to assist KDF with arson investigations. But along with arson, many fires are caused by people burning debris (trash, leaves, yard waste, etc.) and not taking precautions.

State law prohibits burning in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Residents who cause a fire to spread may be held liable for fire suppression costs incurred by the state and county and for damage to property resulting from such fires.

Reporting any unusual activity to local law enforcement can help put a stop to wildfires. For questions about local restrictions regarding burning, call the local fire department and the Division for Air Quality at 502-564-3999.

For more information about fire hazard seasons, outdoor burning laws and safe burning practices, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555 or visit the division’s web site at http://forestry.ky.gov.

Information provided by the Ricki Gardenhire
Posted by J.L. Graham
KenCo News