Forest fires burn thousands of acres

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Forest fires burned nearly 5,000 acres in Kentucky during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Rangers say most in the Cumberland Valley Region are arson.

A reward is being offered to catch those responsible.

In less than a week, 23 forest fires burned 2,202 acres in the Cumberland Valley Region.

"We've been putting in a lot of hours and seen a lot of fire," said District Ranger Jeffery Smith.

Forest Rangers say almost all the fires were intentionally set. Officials say the pilot in the observation plane even witnessed a man on a four-wheeler set a fire in Pineville.

"It was set in eight different places on top of the mountain and that's kind of why it got so big," said Bell County Ranger Lem Johnson.

Firefighters worked 16 hour days through the long holiday weekend to contain all the fires.

"It makes it a lot bigger and a lot harder to control when you have that many sets, you know, one or two you can usually combine them and get them pretty small, but when you get them set across the whole top of the mountain like that, eight sets, especially up here in the terrain, it makes it a whole lot harder and bigger to handle," said Smith.

A $1,000 reward is available for information that leads to arrests and indictments for those responsible for the fires. All tips can remain anonymous.

Anyone with information can call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON. You can also call Kentucky State Police.

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