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Author Topic: State, federal agencies partnering to prevent wildfire  (Read 244 times)

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Arthur

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State, federal agencies partnering to prevent wildfire
« on: October 26, 2016, 04:30:30 PM »

State, federal agencies partnering to prevent wildfire

WINCHESTER, Ky., Oct. 26, 2016 – After weeks of limited rainfall, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and U.S. Forest Service are joining efforts to prevent wildland forest fires across the state.

“The dry weather conditions, along with above normal temperatures, have fire management officials concerned about the potential for wildland fires,” said Director Bill Steele with KDF.

“With little rain predicted in the current weather forecasts, we are preparing for a busy fire season in November.”

Wildland fire suppression may involve a number of agencies. Firefighters with the Kentucky Division of Forestry respond to forest and grassland fires on state and private lands. On federal lands, agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service have firefighters that respond under their jurisdiction.

“National forest visitors over the next several weeks are advised to use extreme caution with fire,” said Fire Management Officer CorDell Taylor with the Daniel Boone National Forest.

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

“Some of our most recent forest fires started from escaped campfires. In such dry conditions, campfires can easily reignite if they are not completely extinguished, especially with gusty winds and dry fuel conditions.”

While no Forest Service fire ban is currently in effect, forest officials are encouraging campers and hunters to use grills and camp stoves instead of campfires.

The fire danger level for eastern Kentucky is currently rated as “very high.” The fuel moisture level for forest ground fuels, or woody debris on the forest floor, is rated as “extremely dry,” increasing the potential for large wildfires to occur.

Of particular concern are the areas where private development adjoins woodland, referred to as wildland-urban interface.

More than 99 percent of wildfires in Kentucky are human caused. Sixty-three percent are caused by arson, fires that are set with criminal intent to destroy land or other property.

In Kentucky, the fire danger season in the fall begins October 1 and ends December 15. During this time, open burning of debris or other material is prohibited within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland except between the hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., or when the ground is covered with snow.

To reduce the risk of an uncontrolled wildfire, the public should avoid debris burning at this time if possible. If conditions worsen, county judge executives may institute burning bans in their county. Other fire restrictions may be implemented by state and federal agencies as needed.   

The public can report arson by calling 1-800-27-ARSON. Individuals reporting arson that leads to an indictment may be rewarded up to $1,000. Arson is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines, including reimbursement of resource or property damage.

Anyone caught abandoning a campfire is subject to fines and court costs. In the event of an escaped campfire, the person responsible may be required to appear in court and held liable for fire suppression costs.
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