Wildfire continues to burn near homes in Morehead

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ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - At the start of the day the US Forest Service said they had hoped to contain a wildfire to 50 acres, along the hillside that runs next to US 60 in Morehead.

The wildfire started Tuesday night, and the Forest Service crews thought they had it fully contained on Wednesday. However, Wednesday the flames jumped the fire line and continued to burn through the dry, dead wood on the hillside.

There were 15 to 20 homes along Bramblewood Road that were near the fire, but Morgan said the flames were not a threat to the houses.

As the day wore on, however, they met several challenges.

"The greatest challenge is the slope. The hillside is very, very steep which makes it hard for the firefighters to even stand there much less to dig down to the bare mineral soil," described Evelyn Morgan, of the USFS.

Even more, the wind picked up and caused the fire to stir up and swirl around said Morgan.

"With the wind and the topography the fire has done some swirling around and different things so we had to change the line."

The adjusted plan had the fire crews cutting a new fire line farther East, meaning the fire would burn a few more acres and potentially close to several homes and a Morehead State University fraternity.

"It's about 500 feet from some houses but we do have structure protection on the scene," added Morgan.

For the fraternity that means keeping one eye on the wildfire and smoke, while cleaning up their home, afterall this is homecoming weekend.

"The fact that the first day we were told that it was well taken care off and the fire was gone, but coming back the next day and day after and still being able to see some smoke and the conditions still there it was kind of worrying," said Andrew Gillette, a sophomore at MSU.

Gillette says he's kept track of the wildfire for the last few days.

"I could kind of see the smoke billowing up," he described of the past few days, "yesterday we were working in the front yard and I could smell it (the smoke) come down."

Now these fraternity brothers are just hoping the wildfire doesn't ruin their weekend fun.

"We're hoping and crossing our fingers. It starts tonight so we'll just see where it goes from here and make sure it's contained for the rest of the weekend.

"We're really confident that we're going to be able to hold it because we have crews up there," added Morgan.

The fire could also have an impact on traffic in the area. The Kentucky Department of Highways is asking drivers to use caution along US 60, east of Morehead, in Rowan County. Smoke could reduce visibility, especially later Thursday evening.

We're told highway crews and local law enforcement are monitoring the situation and will temporarily close the road or restrict traffic if necessary.

The US Forest Service had hoped to contain the fire today, but realistically they say it could be tomorrow before the fire is finally contained.

Morgan said the investigators are confident they know where the fire started and that it was likely started by a person, but she said the cause still remains under investigation.

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