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Burn restrictions remain in effect to December 15
A National Wildfire Prevention and Education Team was recently activated to assist the Daniel Boone National Forest in conducting enhanced wildfire prevention activities due to the prevailing dry conditions across Kentucky. The 5-member team worked in various parts of the national forest and surrounding areas for several days.
98% of all wildfires in Kentucky are caused by humans which means they are preventable. The leading causes of these wildfires are arson followed by debris burning. According to Robert Beanblossom, a member of the visiting team from Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, wildfires represent a major risk to people, property, and the natural resources of the State.
“By becoming aware of how to prevent wildfires, and creating wildfire resistant zones around homes and structures especially in wooded areas, Kentuckians can minimize the effects of wildfires in their communities,” Beanblossom noted.
While visiting the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Wildfire Prevention and Education Team worked closely with local personnel of the US Forest Service, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, other federal agencies, local law enforcement personnel, local schools, and media to develop and deliver timely wildfire prevention messages.
The team attended events and developed messages, handouts, and other information to be distributed by agency personnel, church groups, community service organizations and others in a fire prevention awareness campaign during this period of high wildfire danger.
To burn or not to burn?
Kentucky’s fire seasons are October 1 to December 15 and February 15 to April 30.
Kentucky Revised Statute 149.400, mandates during Kentucky’s fire hazard seasons that it is illegal for any person to set fire to, or to procure another to set fire to, any flammable materials capable of spreading fire, located in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6:00 p.m. (evening) and 6:00 a.m. (morning), or when the ground is covered with snow.
This statute is intended to prevent forest fires by allowing outdoor burning only after 6:00 p.m. in the evening when conditions are less likely to cause a wildfire to spread. During the daytime when burning is prohibited, fuels lose moisture when the humidity drops during the day, and higher daytime temperatures dry out the fuels (leaves, twigs, and branches that feed wildfires. Additionally, wind speed picks up during the day and can spread the flames faster.
During the nighttime, temperatures drop and humidity levels rise so that fuels (leaves, twigs, and branches) don’t dry out as fast and absorb moisture. Also, wind speed drops and is less likely to reignite embers or spread sparks. During the times it is OK to burn, don’t let your burn pile start a wildfire. Clear vegetation for ten feet around your burn pile and keep your fire small and controllable. Just in case, be prepared with a water sources and a shovel nearby. Stay with your fire until it is dead out, even at night. Never leave a fire.
Before you burn, always find out if any additional burning restrictions or bans are in effect. Contact your local fire department or: www.forestry.ky.gov (502) 564-4496 or www.air.ky.gov (502) 782-6592.