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Spring forest fire hazard season is here

Burning laws to be enforced beginning February 15 - April 30, 2016

By Jennifer Turner
News from KY Energy and Environment Cabinet

FRANKFORT, KY (Fri 12 Feb 2016) - It doesn't make sense for wildfires to start easily when Kentucky has had such a run of cold, wet weather, but how wet or cold the ground is has little to do with how vulnerable dead grass is to a spark.

"Despite recent precipitation, dead fuels like grass, leaves and twigs are rapidly dried with sunlight and wind," said William H. Steele, Jr., director of the Division of Forestry. "With only a few hours of sunlight and wind, these fuels can become primed for carrying a wildfire. It is very important that people do not develop a false confidence during wet conditions."

Kentucky law designates February 15 through April 30 as spring forest fire hazard season. During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6am and 6pm local time.

The burning law is intended to prevent fires by allowing burning only during the time when conditions are less likely to cause the spread of fire.

Typically, winds are calmer and humidity is higher from 6pm to 6am. While burning is allowed during these hours, no one should burn unless the air is calm and there is adequate moisture in the air to prevent the spread of fire. It is illegal to start a fire any time of the year on or near timberland without taking all reasonable precautions to prevent it from spreading.

One of the leading causes of forest fires in Kentucky is fire accidentally escaping when people burn trash or unwanted material. The Kentucky Division of Forestry urges Kentucky residents to be extremely careful this fire season when burning outdoors and to follow state and local laws.

Remember to check local ordinances, state air quality and state waste management regulations before conducting any outdoor burning. The Division for Air Quality has many outdoor burning restrictions and should be contacted at 1-888-287-6529

This story was posted on 2016-02-12 07:55:52
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