Kentucky Division of Forestry
Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season Ended April 30

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 03, 2010  
Contact Information:  Lynn Brammer
1-800-866-0555
 


Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season Ended April 30
Busy Season Has Forestry Officials Concerned
 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 3, 2010) – Forest fires have kept the Kentucky Division of Forestry busy this spring.  Although the spring forest fire hazard season officially ended on April 30, the potential for wildfires can occur any time of year.  This potential has forestry officials concerned as reduced staff and other cutbacks hinder the ability to suppress wildfires and ensure public safety.
 Since January, 928 fires have burned approximately 32,404 acres in the state, most of which occurred during the driest period from April 1 – 21 with 551 fires burning 28,439 acres.  At this time last year, wildfires had burned 29,491 acres and in 2008, wildfires had burned only 17,449 acres by the end of April.
 Over 60 percent of forest fires in Kentucky are intentionally set.  Last year, fires started by arsonists burned nearly 33,000 acres.  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.  They can also call the nearest district office of the Kentucky Division of Forestry.  
 Outdoor burning can also lead to forest fires.  Before conducting any outdoor burning, citizens are advised to be familiar with the applicable regulations.  Citizens should contact the Division for Air Quality, the Division of Waste Management, as well as the Division of Forestry and local government officials to ensure that they are complying with all outdoor burning laws.  
 To reduce the risk of wildfire caused by outdoor burning, the division recommends the following guidelines:
• Clear a safe zone that is wide enough to prevent the escape of fire;
• Keep a supply of water and a rake or shovel readily accessible;
• Do not leave a fire unattended;
• Burn only when the wind is calm and the humidity level is high;
• Extinguish fire completely if conditions become windy;
• Keep burn piles small to allow quick control of the fire if necessary; and
• Locate burn piles an adequate distance from structures and utilities.
 For more information about fire hazard seasons, outdoor burning laws and safe burning practices, visit the Division of Forestry’s Web site at http://www.forestry.ky.gov/

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Editor’s note: The Division for Air Quality can be reached at 502-564-3999. The Kentucky Division of Waste Management can be reached at 502-564-6716. The Division of Forestry can be reached at 502-564-4496.