WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the unseasonably hot and dry weather continues, the risk for uncontrolled wildfire is increasing. As a result, the Daniel Boone National Forest and Kentucky Division of Forestry have assembled a fire prevention team to raise awareness about current fire danger.
“Over the past 24 hours, there have been more than 20 wildland fires reported on private and federal lands across eastern Kentucky,” said Evelyn Morgan, fire prevention team leader.
“With the current weather conditions, forest and grassland fires can quickly spread out of control. Uncontrolled wildfires can threaten homes and other personal property, but of more concern, these fires can threaten lives.
“The team’s number one priority is public safety, and the safety of our wildland firefighters,” said Morgan.
Over the weekend, Forest Service employees with the Daniel Boone National Forest extinguished 14 abandoned campfires in the Red River Gorge. Several recent fires in the national forest have started from escaped campfires that were not put out completely before leaving the fire unattended.
Debris burning is another frequent cause of wildfires in Kentucky, but arson accounts for two-thirds of all wildland fires in the Commonwealth.
“Arson is a criminal act that can have devastating results,” added Morgan. “Anyone suspecting arson in their area should call 1-800-27-ARSON.”
Officials say two Kentucky counties, McCreary and Monroe, have implemented county-wide burn bans. For updates on Kentucky county burn bans, go to www.forestry.ky.gov.