Courtesy: Hardy County OEM Deputy Director Tammy L. Gilhuys
As Kentucky forestry officials continue to battle the threat of forest fires across the state, they have put burn bans in place in 20 counties in hopes of stopping some fires before they start.
Kentucky is currently in the spring forest fire hazard season; it runs through April 30. Crews say today's sunny, dry conditions has made the risk of forest fires very high.
Burn bans are now in place in Bell, Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Letcher, Perry, Rockcastle, Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, Pike, Whitley, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, McCreary and Powell counties.
Powell County Judge Executive Darren Farmer says while there hasn't been a fire there yet, he's monitoring the situation and keeping his eyes on the sky.
"A lot of people do a lot of cleaning and vegetation piles up. So, they like to do some outdoor burning. At this point, with the extreme, dry conditions, it is too dangerous to do so."
Farmer says he's hopeful that rain will fall towards the end of the week and he can lift the ban in Powell County early next week.
Forestry officials say, although unsafe debris burning is a significant problem, arson remains the leading cause of wildfire in Kentucky. To help combat this criminal offense, citizens are asked to report any suspicious acts of arson to the nearest Kentucky State Police post or the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.