FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Although it has been one of the wettest winters on record with flooding affecting parts of the state, Kentucky’s forest fire hazard season is underway, and state forestry personnel hope a reminder will spark a renewed sense of vigilance among Kentucky residents.
“Even with the heavy precipitation this winter, dead grass, leaves and twigs can dry out quickly and act as fuel for fire,” said James Wright, director of the Division of Forestry. “It is very important that people do not develop a false confidence during wet conditions.”
Kentucky law designates the period Feb. 15 through April 30 as spring forest fire hazard season. During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brush land between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Where local laws allow, burning is permitted from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., as winds and humidity are generally lower. However, no one should burn unless the air is calm and there is adequate moisture in the air to prevent the spread of fire. Forestry officials emphasize that it is always illegal to start a fire any time of the year on or near timberland without taking all reasonable precautions to prevent it from spreading.
“One of the leading causes of forest fires in Kentucky is fire accidentally escaping when people burn trash or unwanted material,” Wright stated. He added that it is illegal to burn garbage or any other materials except natural plant matter. All fires should be attended at all times.
Before conducting any outdoor burning, check with the local fire department and county government to find out about restrictions and local ordinances. Also check the state air quality and state waste management regulations before conducting any outdoor burning. The Division for Air Quality has many outdoor burning restrictions and should be contacted at 1-888-BURN-LAW.
You can learn more about wildland fire hazard seasons, outdoor burning laws, and how to report arson at http://bit.ly/2WPecRR.
Although the state reports no current wildfires, no far this year there have been 41, burning nearly 250 acres. 17 of the fires are believed to have been arson related. To report an arson fire, you can call the Target Arson hotline, at 800-27-ARSON.