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Tornado destruction creates dangers for forest fire season

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Foresters say the tornadoes did decades worth of damage to the forests in eastern Kentucky.

Foresters say forest land is significantly affected through the tornadoes' path.

"Basically, all the trees are on the ground," said Vernon "Tad" Norris.

All of the downed trees on the ground are also creating a dangerous situation for forest fires.

Forest rangers mapped out the all destruction in the woods to prepare for fire season.

"We have a lot of concern. There's going to be a lot more hazards putting out fires in these areas," said Norris.

The trees on the ground mean more fuel for the fires and problems for firefighters containing them.

"We won't be able to put any fire breaks in or we won't be able to get a dozer in, so it's really going to change our tactics when it comes to fighting fires in those areas. In short, it's going to cause more acres to be burned, so we need to be really diligent about being really careful over in those areas," said Adam McGuire, District Forest Ranger.

They are concerned about people burning tornado debris and for safety, ask people to keep the fires away from the woods to prevent starting forest fires. During forest fire season, no burning is allowed within 150 feet of woodland areas from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

"We feel for them. Our sympathy goes out to those people who got hit by the tornadoes, but we have to be diligent and obey the law," said McGuire.

They say it will take an estimated eight to ten years for the forest to get back to normal.

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