Warm, windy weather leads to forest fire fears

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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - It's set to be one of the first truly spring-like weekends this year and as people head outside, Kentucky Division of Forestry officials say they should be extremely careful.

"The wind and the conditions are such that it would be really easy to start a forest fire," said Forestry worker Floyd Willis.

The combination of warm temperatures, dry air, and possibly high wind could lead to a red flag warning tomorrow. Already today, crews worked six forest fires in Eastern Kentucky.

"We've got one fire that's probably close to 50 acres right now and most of the others we've had today have been five acres or less," said Willis.

They're all under control, but officials fear more could spring up. The fire season officially comes to a close at the end of April, but the forestry workers aren't out of the woods just yet.

"Historically, the first two weeks of April are our busiest time here," said Willis.

One of the main reasons, they say, is that leaves haven't sprouted yet, giving the sunlight a direct line to the forest floor, drying and heating it up rapidly.

"As the leaves and the forest litter gets drier and drier, then the fires burn hotter and then the wind coming in will push the fire faster," said Willis.

The bottom line, Willis says is to wait the weather out.

"If you can wait to do your burning, tomorrow's not the best day," he said.

National Weather Service officials say the area north of I-64 faces the greatest risk.

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