Energy and Environment Cabinet
Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season Begins
Oct. 1 is the beginning of the official Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season in Kentucky. During the season, which lasts until Dec. 15, outdoor burning is illegal within 150 feet of the woods between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. While it is not illegal to burn after 6 p.m., forestry officials say that now is not a good time to do any burning. “There is growing concern about the potential for fires this fall,” said Leah MacSwords, director of the Division of Forestry. “The dry weather and low humidity levels have increased the number of forest fires for this time of year.”
The increased fire activity has also prompted more than 30 counties to enact burn bans that prohibit all outdoor burning. Debris burning, a leading cause of wildfires in Kentucky, is one of the biggest concerns right now. Sparks and embers from burning dead limbs, brush and leaves can quickly ignite nearby vegetation and spread out of control especially under warm, dry and windy conditions. Safety precautions, weather conditions, local ordinances and state laws should always be considered before conducting any outdoor burning. For information regarding burn bans and local ordinances, citizens should contact their county judge’s office or local fire department.
Another concern for forest fire hazard season is arson. Even though deliberately setting fire to the forest is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment, most forest fires (more than 55 percent) in Kentucky are the result of arson. Citizens who witness suspected arson activity are asked to call the nearest Kentucky State Police post or the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.
For more information regarding fire hazard seasons, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555 or visit the division’s Web site at http://www.forestry.ky.gov/programs/firemanage/. Information regarding open burning regulations, allowable materials to burn, and legal disposal methods can be obtained by contacting the Division for Air Quality at 1-888-BURN-LAW and the Division of Waste Management at 1-888-NO-DUMPS.