Central Kentucky Faces Drought Conditions

There is a growing concern about the Fall forest fire season, which begins on October 1st.

The new Palmer drought numbers released Monday afternoon show the Bluegrass Region is in a mild drought and the mountains of Eastern Kentucky are in a moderate drought.

The dry grass and trees are already triggering brush fires in Jessamine, Montgomery, and Elliott counties.

A burn ban is now in effect in those counties but what has forestry workers even more worried is the lack of rain in the forecast.

"We are beginning to get concerned, because we haven't had measurable rainfall in over three weeks," said Kentucky Forest Ranger, Allen Watts.

Watts says it isn't as dry as it was last year, but if the current weather pattern continues, this years fire season could rival last year's, when more than 50,000 acres were scorched across the state.

"It really all depends on the weather and if people make sure they monitor any controlled burns they start, so it doesn't get out of hand and spread," Watts said.

The State Division of Forestry says 90% of all fires are human-caused, so Watts says many of the fires they fight during a season could be avoided.

"We just ask people to be very careful about where and when they burn. The outdoor burning ban states you have to burn at least 150 feet from a wooded area. And you shouldn't burn from 6AM to 6PM or when it's windy," said Watts.

But to avoid the possibility all together, the Division of Forestry, asks that people not burn during the fire seasons.

The number of forest fires in Kentucky has increased over the last five years.

Last year was one of the worst on record. More than 52,000 acres burned in more than 1,900 fires.

This information was gathered by the state's division of forestry.

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