State of emergency for wildfires in Eastern Kentucky

Published 9:30 am Friday, November 10, 2023

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday declared a state of emergency with numerous wildfires have been identified across the state, with many of them in Eastern Kentucky.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry is coordinating response efforts and reports there are 31 active fires that are currently being worked on but that continue to spread, as well as 36 contained fires, which are those that have containment lines stopping their spread but require some level of action. There are also 44 fires that are labeled controlled fires, which are those that have been managed and are no longer a risk of escaping control lines.

According to Kentucky Emergency Management, drought conditions have increased threats of wildfires statewide. Weather forecasts predict a potential for additional fires across the state.

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The Governor’s executive order allows the state to activate state resources, including Kentucky Emergency Management and the Kentucky National Guard as needed, to help protect Kentucky families and communities.  The state’s Emergency Operations Center at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort has also been activated to Level 4, meaning it is fully staffed.

“We are taking action to make sure that Kentucky families and communities have the resources they need,” said Gov. Beshear. “We appreciate everyone on the front lines stepping up to fight the fires, and we pray for their safety and that these fires can be put out quickly.”

The Governor also activated the state’s price gouging laws to protect families from grossly overpriced goods and services.  With the state of emergency in place, consumers in Kentucky can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General.  Under state law, price gougers can be held accountable.

In addition to local and state responders, the Division of Forestry and Kentucky Emergency Management has coordinated assistance from forestry teams from Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

Kentuckians should visit ready.gov/wildfires to prepare for wildfires and learn how to make a plan to stay safe.

Gov. Beshear also wants everyone to be aware that the Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, year-round, confidential crisis counseling and emotional support resource for survivors, responders and anyone in the United States struggling with distress or other mental health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

Click here to view the current details available to Kentucky Emergency Management on where the most active fires have been reported and where local states of emergency have been declared.

Here is where you can read the entire state of emergency.