Warmer weather means more forest fires in eastern Kentucky

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - Spring-like weather is finally here in the mountains and with it comes a greater risk for forest fires.

On Monday night, we showed you this video of a wildfire burning in the Christopher community of Perry County. While that fire has since gone out, Kristy Whitaker with the Division of Forestry says it is a teachable moment.

"Low humidity levels, high temperatures and a five to 10 mile-per-hour wind is indicative of fire weather," said Whitaker.

At the Hazard field office, staff mark the fires they are working on a map. As of Monday, they had almost 20 new fires.

"They are started either by arson or by debris, most of the time," said Whitaker.

Many could not be happier with the warmer weather but forestry officials tell WYMT that also means a higher risk of wildfires.

"Really it is just using common sense. If it is a windy day, it is probably not good to burn something outside. A lot of times it is better to wait till after it rains," said Whitaker.

Local fire departments, like the one in Hazard, help out when flames threaten homes. Fire Chief Sam Stacy said there are simple steps residents can take to protect their property.

"Keep around your house clean. Keep all the leaves raked away from the house and do not let any growth take place near your house," said Stacy.

Whitaker adds that despite the blue skies and dry conditions, one should still use caution. Fire season continues in Kentucky until April 30th. During this time, law states one can only burn things between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.


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