Local News

Spring Wildland Fire Season is Here

Bill Stephens

February 15th, 2022

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Be Careful When Burning Outdoors

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 15, 2022) – The Spring Wildfire Season, which begins today and lasts until April 30, is in effect in every Kentucky county. The law prohibits any person to burn between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland. 

The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) urges residents across the state to exercise caution when burning debris during this season. The KDF has responded to 93 wildland fires since January 1, 2022, and nearly 40 percent have been attributed to debris burning.

It is important to remain vigilant about wildfires. In the spring, people conduct yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris. The KDF encourages residents considering debris burning to exercise caution and consider all factors to help maximize the safety of people, property and the forest.

“Any time a citizen decides to burn brush, they should make that decision by using all the information available to them. Monitoring weather patterns, paying special attention to humidity levels, wind speeds, and being alert to red flag warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Informed decisions about outdoor burning increases the safety of our firefighters and our communities,” said Division of Forestry Director Brandon Howard.

For those who choose to burn debris, the KDF urges them to:

  • Consider alternatives to burning. Some yard debris, such as leaves and grass, may be more valuable if composted.
  • Check with your county fire marshal’s office for local laws on burning debris. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours; others forbid it entirely.
  • Check the weather. Don’t burn if conditions are dry or windy.
  • Only burn natural vegetation from your property. Burning household trash or any other synthetic materials is illegal. Trash should be hauled away in an approved manner.
  • Plan burning for the evening hours when conditions are typically less windy and more humid.
  • If you must burn, be prepared. Use a shovel or garden hoe to clear a perimeter around the area where you plan to burn.
  • Keep fire tools ready. To control the fire, you will need a water hose, bucket, a steel rake, and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids such as kerosene, gasoline, or diesel fuel to increase burning speed.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.
  • If your fire escapes your control, immediately call 911 and then your local KDF field office.

These same tips hold true for campfires and barbeques. Drench burning charcoal briquettes or campfires thoroughly with water. When the coals are soaked, stir and soak them again. Be sure they are cold and carefully feel to be sure they are extinguished. Never dump hot ashes or coals into a wooded area.

If you are burning agriculture residue and forestland litter, a fire line should be plowed around the area to be burned. Large fields should be separated into small plots for burning one at a time. Before beginning any burning in a wooded area, contact your KDF county forest ranger who will weigh all factors, explain them, and offer advice.

Remember to check local ordinances, state air quality, and state waste management regulations before conducting any outdoor burning.  The Division for Air Quality has many outdoor burning restrictions. More information can be found at https://eec.ky.gov/Environmental-Protection/Air/Pages/Open-Burning.aspx

For more information on ways that you can prevent wildfires and loss of property, along with a map of local KDF field offices, visit  https://eec.ky.gov/Natural-Resources/Forestry

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