HAZARD — Forest fires have raged in Southeastern Kentucky over the past couple of weeks, causing vast damage to wildlife and the landscape. On Nov. 9, the Kentucky Division of Forestry released the following information, pertaining to the fires.
Sixty three Counties in Kentucky currently have complete burn bans. If you live in a county with a burn ban, all open outdoor burning is illegal. If you see anybody burning illegally, call 911. If you do not live in a county with a burn ban, fall forest fire hazard statutes still apply. Burning between 6 am and 6 pm within 150 feet of a woodland is illegal.
There are 23 uncontrolled fires in our Southeast Region. One additional fire is uncontrolled in the state, making for a total of 24 uncontrolled fires, as of Nov. 9. These fires control a total of 15,574 acres. In the Southeast region, 11 fires were contained on Nov. 8. The largest fire is the Nolansburg Fire in Harlan County, 7,400 acres.
Some of the Southeast Region received scattered showers on Nov. 8. Some counties received no rain, some received 0.3. of an inch. This amount of rain and higher humidity should help to slightly moderate fire behavior, but will not have any significant impact on long term fire conditions. Humidity levels will return back to the 30 percent level this week.
There are a total of 6 Blackhawk helicopters dropping water on fires as of Nov. 9 and additional 2 helicopters that are being used to spot. These resources are from the National Guard.
The Department of Mine Safety has 50 personnel assisting the region with logistical support. Approximately 50 firefighters from the Kentucky Fire Commission are assisting with firefighting operations, in particular with structure protection. There are approximately a total of 400 personnel assisting with operations, including fulltime and seasonal KDF employees, Mine Safety and Fire Commission Personnel.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.