Fire hazard season is here once again in Knox County and officials want to warn the public – if you start a wildfire, you could be held responsible for the cost to put it out.
The fall wildfire hazard season officially began on Monday, October 1 and will continue through December 15. No burning will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is due to dried out vegetation which feeds wildfires, increased wind speed and a drop in humidity during the day. It is, however, okay to burn between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. because temperatures and wind speed drops while humidity rises at night.
Forest Warden Tony Smith says one of the main things to worry about in the fall is “all the leaf litter falling and drying out. Right now, people think because its rained so much that everything’s wet. It doesn’t take long to dry out, sometimes only hours, and it will burn.”
Kentucky state laws also prohibit burning within 150 feet of a woodland or brushland: “It shall be unlawful for any person to set fire to, or to procure another to set fire to, any flammable material capable of spreading fire, located in or within one hundred fifty feet (150′) of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., prevailing local time, or when the ground is covered with snow.”
Smith says while it’s too early to tell what kind of fire season to expect, Knox Countians need to be smart about how they burn, especially after a stint of dry weather.
“Fire season depends on the weather. If it’s dry a couple days, don’t burn. Just be smart,” said Smith, who anticipates the busiest time of fire season to take place from Halloween to the end of November.
General tips for burning are as follows:
Clear vegetation 10 feet around your burn pile.
Keep your fire small and controllable.
Have a source of water and shovel nearby.
Stay with your fire until it is out, even at night.
Smith also wants to remind the public that if your burn pile starts a wildfire, you may have to pay for the cost of putting it out. Before you burn, always find out if any burn bans or restrictions are in effect. You can call your local fire department or visit www.forestry.ky.gov.
To report a wildland arsonist, call the hotline number at 1-800-27ARSON. To report a wildland fire, call your local fire department or 911.
In an effort to reforest areas effected by wildfires, the Kentucky Division of Forestry now has their 2018 tree seedling order forms available. If you are interested in participating, call the Hazard regional office at 606-435-6073.
Content for this story provided by the Daniel Boone National Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Division of Forestry.