Forest fire creeps dangerously close to Estill County homes

By: Jerrika Insco Email
By: Jerrika Insco Email

ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - We are tracking forest fires in eight counties tonight, and the Kentucky Division of Forestry is reporting these fires are all in eastern Kentucky.

One of the worst is in Estill County.

We are being told the forest fire in Estill County is 98 percent contained, but forestry officials say they hope to have 100 percent containment by overnight.

The smoke on the hilltop can be spotted from miles away on Highway 52, and the orange glow continues to build as forestry officials work to burn lines working to keep the wild fire contained.

"They're going to reinforce the line, burn it out, and then just monitor the line that's already up there," said Jane Quillen-Dubois, a forest ranger with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

It has been burning for more than 24 hours now.

And forestry officials tell us in no time it had already killed 50 acres because of the brush that has built up over the past 10 to 15 years, which was the last time they even had a fire on those hills.

"You're dealing with something that hasn't burned, something that has a thick leaf layer, and duff underneath that," said Quillen-Dubois. "And plus all the slash from storms, from dead trees, and all that comes with it. And the steepness of the slope. You've got your hands full."

But no homes have been affected yet, which is something to be thankful for, with it dangerously close to several.

"We just have to keep a close watch on it, and if it gets close to me, we will just have to move out," said Cleveland Adams, who lives nearby the fire.

As long as they can see the flames, forestry officials tell us they will be fighting the fire.

Folks from Wolfe County took over battling the forest fire this evening to relieve the Estill County crews.

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