Kentucky, U.S. Forest officials warn of wildfire danger

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RED RIVER GORGE, Ky. (WKYT) - Workers from the U.S. Forest Service and the Kentucky Division of Forestry want people to be careful while visiting forests across Kentucky over the next few days. Warm temperatures, dry conditions, and falling leaves have created ideal conditions for wildfires, they said Wednesday.

"We could hit some red flag days. Those are really, truly 'watch out' situations," said Kentucky Division of Forestry Fire Chief Floyd Willis.

He said there hasn't been much rain in the area lately. The underbrush is dry. Even if there are some showers, U.S. Forest Service Fire Management Officer Cordell Taylor said there would likely still be dangerous conditions.

“Even after a rain, the forest ground fuels can dry out very quickly, and more leaves are falling to the ground at this time. As the leaves fall, more sunlight reaches the forest floor, which results in more fuels that dry sooner," Taylor said.

There have been a couple of fires recently in the Red River Gorge area. Forest workers believe one near the Auxier Ridge Campground was a campfire that got out of control. It burned two acres.

Mild, comfortable weather is expected for the next several days. Workers expect a lot of people to be at the Gorge, and they want campers to be careful with their fires. A team made up of state and federal forest workers will spend the next few days putting up fliers warning people of the fire danger and talking with campers about safety.

"We love them visiting the forest, but they kind of tend to forget that the campfires need to be fully extinguished before they leave. Campfire rings, they typically aren't extinguished until you put water on them and stir them up really well," Taylor said.

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