Burn bans on the rise as dry weather could lead to Kentucky forest fires

Lincoln, Laurel and Whitley counties have burn bans in place. (WKYT)
Lincoln, Laurel and Whitley counties have burn bans in place. (WKYT)(WKYT)
Published: Sep. 16, 2019 at 5:32 PM EDT
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Some parts of the state are in moderate droughts, and the dry weather has caused several counties to outlaw outdoor burning. Fire officials in Lincoln, Laurel and Whitley counties say they've already had a few fires get out of control.

Last week, a Stanford man burning some debris outdoors saw how quickly a little fire can turn dangerous. Lincoln County officials say the man did the right thing by calling in for help right away, but since then, they've decided to prohibit all outdoor burning.

"No open burning, period. You can still cook on your grill and so forth," Lincoln County Fire Chief Danny Glass said.

The problem isn't just in Lincoln County. There are burn bans in place in some other Kentucky counties, including Laurel and Whitley counties. In fact, there was a situation near London just last week where one fire was dangerously close to a couple of homes.

The Laurel County fire chief says the fire on Green Meadow road was put out quickly, but as a result, county officials there and other places decided to go ahead and ban all burning.

"We've had a couple instances here in town, cigarettes thrown out, mulch caught on fire, even had a pretty big fire on the side of the highway," Stanford Fire Chief Scott Maples said.

Fire officials say property owners may not realize the danger they pose to themselves and others in a simple backyard fire.

"My question is what if someone has a fatality accident while they are in route," Glass said. "We need to abide by the laws."

Officials say it is never legal to burn most trash, construction and farm waste.

The State Division of Forestry's burn bans will go into effect on October 1.