Fire hazard season is once again here in Knox County and officials want the public to know that, as Smokey Bear has reminded people for decades, only you can prevent wildfires.
The spring fire season officially began on February 15 and will continue through April 30. No burning will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is due to higher temperatures that dry out vegetation, which feeds wildfires, increased wind speed and a drop in humidity during the day. It is, however, ok to burn between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. because temperatures and wind speed drops while humidity rises at night.
Kentucky Revised Statute 149.400 also prohibits 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.”
Forest warden Tony Smith advises Knox Countians to be careful in the following weeks, especially when burning plots to start their spring gardens.
“Be safe in doing that because that stuff can get out of hand really quick, especially with the wind picking up,” said Smith.
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 fire 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.