Dry, breezy conditions elevate fire risk

March 10, 2014

With the spike in temperatures and breezy conditions, area forestry crews responded to woodland fires in the region over the weekend and on Monday.

According to Ricky Boggs, regional ranger with the Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet’s Division of Forestry, the condition for fires was listed as moderate Monday afternoon.

“It is pretty dry,” he said, encouraging residents to refrain from burning until wetter conditions arrive later this week. “It is easy to get one (forest fire) started right now.”

He said two fires were reported in Bell County on Sunday, one near Radio Tower at Middlesboro and one at Hances Creek. Both of those fires were reported to be under control.

There were not active fires in Harlan County on Monday afternoon.

The largest fire in the southeast region Monday afternoon was estimated to be 75 acres in Knott County, said Boggs.

He said Bell and Harlan forestry crews were assisting with blazes in Knox and Whitley counties.

Sixty-five percent of forest fires are believed to be started by arsonists, Boggs said.

Boggs said during fire season it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of woodlands and brushland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The spring fire season began Feb. 15 and continues to April 30. Fall fire season is Oct. 1 to Dec. 15.

The southeast region includes Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Pike, Perry and Whitley counties, Boggs said.

To report a fire call the regional office at 800-866-0503 or 606-435-6073 or your local fire or police agency.