Hot and dry, with a holiday nearing, the Daniel Boone National Forest has banned most open fires along with the possession or use of fireworks in the 708,000 acre forest.
The emergency restrictions were put in place Wednesday for the forest which covers parts of 21 counties from the Tennessee border to north of Morehead.
“Conditions have changed recently, very rapidly,” said Paul Finke with the U.S. Forest Service. “We have gone very dry, our humidities are decreasing."
The only place where a fire will now be allowed is in fire rings in the forest’s 39 designated campgrounds and picnic areas.
The agency has only 12 law enforcement officers to monitor the fire ban so it is asking for the public’s help. “We have eyes on the ground but we need the public to help us in that effort,” Finke said. “We can’t be everywhere.”
Anyone caught violating the fire ban will face a minimum $300 fine. The forest service will allow commercial firework displays scheduled for Laurel River Lake and Cave Run Lake to continue as planned.