Kentucky’s fall forest fire season underway
Published 4:23 pm Monday, October 2, 2023
With the start of Kentucky’s fall forest fire hazard season this Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service encourages visitors to take care to recreate responsibly and reduce their risk of starting a wildfire.
“Leaves and other dead plant debris are easy fuel for wildfires. Even with a bit of rain or fog in the morning, our warm, breezy days dry those smaller fuels out quickly and can give you a false sense of security when setting up a campfire or burning debris at home,” said Amy McClave, acting Daniel Boone National Forest fire management officer. “It’s important that Forest visitors and residents of our neighboring communities take precautions to ensure that fires, whether from campfires or debris burning, are completely out before leaving them unattended.”
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Abandoned or escaped campfires are one of the most common causes of wildfire activity on the Daniel Boone National Forest. To prevent a campfire from causing an accidental forest fire, the forest service recommends:
• Building campfires in existing fire pits or in clear spaces at least 15 feet away from branches or shrubs.
• Avoiding campfires in windy conditions where embers can easily be carried to nearby fuels.
• Never leaving a campfire unattended or letting it grow out of control.
• Ensuring a campfire is completely extinguished before leaving by covering it with water, stirring the ashes around and dousing it again. If the ashes still feel warm to the back of a hand, repeat the process until they are cold.
Visitors are encouraged to report abandoned or uncontrolled campfires to local law enforcement. Suspicious acts of arson should be directed to the nearest Kentucky State Police post or the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.
“More than 99% of Kentucky forest fires are caused by human activity,” said McClave. “From now through the end of fire season on December 15, we ask our visitors to help us keep the Forest and our neighboring communities safe by following burn restrictions, properly extinguishing campfires, and avoiding activities that may create a spark.”
Kentucky’s fall fire season runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15. During this time, state law prohibits burning in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland on state or private lands from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local officials may also issue burn bans that further restrict burning within the county. Campfires on the national forest are permitted unless the forest supervisor issues a ban.
For more information on Kentucky forest fire hazard season and burn restrictions, visit the Kentucky Department of Forestry website at https://eec.ky.gov/Natural-Resources/Forestry.