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Wet Start to Kentucky Fall Wildfire Season Welcomed by Firefighters

LBL Forest Service

Thursday marks the beginning of the fall wildfire season across the Commonwealth.  This week’s rainfall is welcomed by Division of Forestry firefighters.

The outdoor ban on burning from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. in or within 150 feet of a woodland runs through mid-December.  Division of Forestry Fire Management Chief Floyd Willis says officials in his agency are hoping for a fall much like last year.  “It was pretty slow for us in the fall and the spring for the most part because there was a lot of precipitation during those times, even snowfall,” said Willis.

Willis says the danger of possible fire during the fall season commences when the trees begin to lose their leaves.  “What that does is that allows the sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor which will dry the leaves and branches and other debris," explained Willis.  "Once it dries those out, that’s when we have our highest potential of having forest fires.”

Willis says about 60 percent of forest fires in Kentucky are set intentionally.  Earlier this year, dozens of division of forestry firefighters traveled to California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and North Carolina to assist in battling wildfires.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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