Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Division of Forestry employee helping on Oklahoma wildfires
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2006) - Sarah Gracey, urban forester for the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), has gone to Oklahoma to assist as a wildland fire information officer. She will provide information to news reporters, local citizens and officials, and firefighters battling Oklahoma wildfires.
The Oklahoma Forestry Service asked for KDF assistance over the weekend through the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Compact. Gracey left for Oklahoma City on Saturday and is expected to stay 14 days, plus travel time. She is the 12th KDF employee assisting with wildland fire emergencies in other states. Eleven KDF employees in Texas are expected to return this weekend.
Wildfires continue to burn out of control in parched areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Depletion of local and state resources and a long-term weather forecast showing no relief in sight prompted the Texas Forest Service and the Oklahoma Forestry Service to ask for Kentucky’s help.
KDF Director and Kentucky State Forester Leah MacSwords said, "We are fortunate that wildland fire conditions in Kentucky have improved, which allowed us to provide these resources."
The multistate compact enables member states to share wildland firefighters and equipment in times of need. Member states agree to help each other to the extent possible, to maintain a dialogue about wildfire threats and to make plans for equipment and personnel to be available on short notice.
Texas and Oklahoma will reimburse Kentucky for the KDF employees’ time and expenses.