Firefighters Battling Forest Fires Across Eastern Kentucky

By: Julie Maloney Email
By: Julie Maloney Email

At least a dozen forest fires broke out across the region Monday. Crews in Knox County are still battling two fires that started before dark.

The spring forest fire season began February 15th and workers from the Division of Forestry say they have been busy ever since. Crews battled seven fires near Pineville and officials say most of them were set on purpose.

Just before sunset smoke started billowing from this mountain.

"This fire appears to be started by someone off a four-wheeler trail riding ATV's. We've had a lot of those the last couple of days with the pretty weather," Forest Ranger Lem Johnson.

Johnson says like many forest fires, a carelessly thrown cigarette in the grass may be to blame for this fire.

"We've had fires at least every other day. We've had days where we've had numerous fires. Today we've had seven or eight. Some people are just being careless throwing cigarettes in the grass. Most of them are intentionally set," Johnson said.

By the time darkness fell, Johnson says this fire spanned fifteen acres. There are no paved roads to the top of the mountain, so he says it will be a tough one to put out.

"It's really remote, back in the woods. We're going to have to walk to it, maybe build roads with a dozer truck," Johnson said.

Crews hope to have the fire put out soon.

Johnson wants to remind everyone to be extra cautious when building camp fires or smoking in areas heavily populated with trees and brush. If everyone pays a little more attention, many forest fires can be prevented.

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