Forest Fires burning in Eastern Kentucky

PERRY and BELL COUNTIES, Ky. (WYMT) - More than 200 forest fires have burned more than five thousand acres in Kentucky so far this year.
This past weekend, state officials say 44 fires burned 653 acres.

A forest fire is burning near the Christopher area of Perry County. Fire officials say it started around five in the afternoon and continues to burn. We do not know how many acres have burned. The Hazard Fire Department and the Division of Forestry are on scene. No homes have been damaged.

Bell County Forest Rangers say they are working three fires.

They stayed out until midnight Sunday night and then controlled them Monday afternoon.

A fire on Mountain Drive burned more than 50 acres.

Crews say the cold winter is actually making the fires burn hotter and faster because the freeze pulled all the moisture out of the ground.

Officials say many of the fires started when people burning brush let the fire escape.

"They thought because of the wetness we've had this winter, the fire wouldn't escape, but the reality is the sun is hitting it now. We've got constant breeze, low humidity, and it drives fuels out and lets the fire escape," said Lem Johnson, Bell County Forest Ranger.

It is illegal to burn between 6:00am and 6:00pm.

Officials say several of the fires are also caused by arson. If you have any information on arson, you can call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.

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