Kentucky Wildfire Has One County Under Emergency Declaration

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Terray Sylvester/Getty Images)

Kentucky’s Estill County is currently under a state emergency after a wildfire burns hundreds of acres of land. According to LEX18, the county is now under a local state of emergency. It was declared by the county’s judge executive. This was done after a wildfire caused significant damage to hundreds of acres in the area. Estill County Fire Chief, Derrick Muncie, told the media outlet, “They’re doing helicopter drops all morning, they are calling for another helicopter, and we’ve got crews on top of the mountain and down here below doing structure protection.”

Judge Executive Donnie Watson also stated that Estill County has been under a burn ban for some time. He now estimates that around 300 or 400 acres have been impacted by this wildfire. “Hopefully people won’t burn until we get some rain,” Watson explained. “Once we get some rain and get a good rain, a good soaking rain, the ground gets wet and leaves and everything and that will eliminate the hazard.” 

Watson further explained that the wildfire impacts the land as well as, property, wildlife, and residents’ health and safety. Muncie said crews have been working through the night. He shared his gratitude for the Kentucky Department of Forestry. “They don’t get appreciated enough, and just like, we’re a combination department,” He said. “We have a lot of volunteer firefighters out here that spent all night, you know and stuff, and they’ve done a heck of a job.”

The media outlet added that fire crews assure houses in the area are safe during the wildfire emergency. However, they are encouraging those in the area to stay off the roads if they can. They also want the residents to let the firefighters and crews get the job done and put out the fire before it gets worse.

Following Actions are Banned Within Kentucky’s Estill County During Wildfire State of Emergency  

LEX18 also listed actions that are banned within Estill County during the wildlife state of emergency. The obvious: burning of forest, grass, corps, woodlands, marshes, or other similar items. Burning of leaves or debris is prohibited along with campfires, bonfires, and warming fires.

It was also noted that the use of fireworks or any other outside incendiary or explosive material/devices not in use for purposes of emergency response is prohibited. However, the lawful use of firearms, ammunition and their components are excluded from this ban.

The state of emergency further notes that the Estill County Judge Executive may waive procedures and formalities otherwise required by law pertaining to the performance of public work. This also includes entering into contracts and incurring obligations. 

The Judge Executive may also enforce all laws and regulations related to wildfire emergency response. This excludes all non-essential or disruptive personnel from a scene, declaring curfews, and establishing limits.