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Fire ban lifted in Red River Gorge area

On Friday, Forest Supervisor Frank Beum lifted the fire bans issued last month for the Cumberland Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest, including the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Clifty Wilderness and general forest area of Cave Run Lake, according to a news release.

"The weather and fuel factors we consider when evaluating the need for a fire ban are all looking quite a bit better since Tuesday's rain," said Staff Officer Nancy Ross in the news release.

"We may experience more high fire danger periods throughout the fall and winter, but for the next two weeks, the fire danger is predicted to remain moderate.

"Forest visitors should still exercise caution," added Ross. "Make sure your fire is out cold before you leave it unattended."

The fire bans were implemented in early October due to extremely dry weather conditions, which resulted in several escaped campfires on national forest lands.

During the fire ban, an illegal campfire was set that burned more than 1,600 acres on Auxier Ridge in the Red River Gorge. A portion of state Highway 77 was closed for nearly two weeks. The fire caused trees and rocks to slide downhill into the highway, requiring extensive cleanup efforts.

The Auxier Ridge area and several trails remain closed while Forest Service officials assess resource damage and safety hazards in the wildfire location.

The Tunnel Ridge Road that leads to Auxier Ridge remains closed just past the Grays Arch trailhead.

Also Friday, the Clark County Fire Department lifted a burn ban for that county.

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