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Western Ky. fire departments preparing for wildfire season

Kentucky drought monitor as of September 27. The areas colored orange indicate moderate drought conditions.
National Integrated Drought Information System
Kentucky drought monitor as of September 27. The areas colored orange indicate moderate drought conditions.

Western Kentucky fire departments are getting ready for wildfire season by educating their communities about necessary preventative measures.

The Kentucky fall wildfire season began on Saturday and will be in effect through Dec. 15.

Kentucky law mandates that county officials and citizens must ensure fires are in open areas. The bill also restricts burning between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Carlisle Judge-Executive Greg Terry says these conditions, combined with the burning of fields during fall harvest season, are alarming. Terry says placing a burn ban right before the fall fire season is abnormal.

“As small as our community is, we have a small volunteer fire department,” Terry said. “We want to try to get ahead of any possible fires.”

Terry says Carlisle County has experienced a few small fires along roads. The main cause for these fires is still unknown. Terry says these fires have created concern in the county and the local fire department has been communicating with its neighboring fire departments in Hickman, Fulton and Ballard counties.

The weeks running up to wildfire season saw Carlisle and McCracken counties experiencing moderate drought conditions. Those two counties, along with Ballard, Crittenden and Livingston counties and the city of Benton, in Marshall County, have burn bans in place. All outdoor burning, including the use of fireworks, is prohibited until they receive adequate rainfall. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System data, Hickman, Ballard, Graves and Marshall counties are also experiencing moderate drought conditions, which can put undue strains on area crops and increase the risk of wildfires.

Lone Oak Fire Department chief Larry Freeman says he and his team are cautioning Paducahans to abide by the burn bans and to follow the fall fire season guidelines once the ban is lifted.

“Use common sense,” Freeman says. “Do not burn until after the ban is lifted and when it is lifted make sure to burn within the [appropriate] hours.”

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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