Kentucky National Park Site Sees Driest Conditions in 12 Years

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by: Jim Lane/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

As excessively dry weather remains an issue in eastern Kentucky, one of the state’s national park sites is now seeing the driest conditions in over a decade. According to WKYT, Red River Gorge, which is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, has not been as dry as it is in 12 years.

Public Affairs Staff Officer at Daniel Boone National Forest, Tim Eling, shares more details. “Here, in the Red River Gorge, we get a tremendous about of backcountry camping use,” Eiling explained. “A lot of people with campfires, in the backcountry, and that is the number one cause of wildfires, here, in the Red River Gorge, escaped campfires.”

The media outlet reported that the majority of forest fires occur due to backcountry campers failing to completely extinguish campfires. It was also advised that in order to prevent a forest fire in the national park, add water, stir it, then add more water. After doing that, put a hand close to the pit. If the site has cooled down, then it’s less likely that a fire will occur.

“When you are coming out to a place like the Red River Gorge and maybe you want to do some backcountry camping, think about what you are going to be doing that night,” Eling continued.  “And one thing that I would recommend is maybe not even having a fire. Maybe just looking up at the stars, doing some star gazing.”

Officials Recently Announced Tarr Ridge Wildfire Has Been 100% Contained In the Daniel Boone National Park’s Red River Gorge Area 

Meanwhile, the warnings from Eling come just a few weeks after the Tarr Ridge Wildfire began. It was first discovered in the Red River Gorge area.

According to the national park’s alerts, the Tarr Ridge Wildfire was located in Menifee County. It made its way along a remote ridgeline in the Red River Gorge area. The fire was first reported on October 11th at .23 acres in size. However, despite helicopter-supported water drops, the wildfire ended up crossing over the ridge the weekend of October 15th. It then dropped onto a lower bench. 

As of November 3rd, the fire was 100% contained at 14.5 acres. Traffic cones have been placed along nearby KY77 to preserve access for official vehicles. The national park encourages visitors to exercise caution if traveling through the area and prepare for stops.

“Drone activities are prohibited in the vicinity for the duration of the wildfire,” the website reads. “Firefighting aircraft fly at the same altitudes as recreational drones which creates the potential for collisions. If a drone is spotted over or near a wildfire, fire managers will be forced to suspend aerial wildfire suppression efforts until it has left the airspace.”