Kentucky Wildlife Officials Enact Burning Restrictions Ahead of Wildfire Season

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: milehightraveler

According to officials, burning restrictions are now in place across Kentucky, marking the start of Fall wildfire season.

According to a statement from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, outdoor burning is now restricted from 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. if the fire is within 150 feet of any woodland, brushland, or field with flammable materials.

“With regions of the Commonwealth recovering from flooding damage, it is especially important that all Kentuckians be vigilant with fire safety when outdoors,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. The restriction will remain in place until Dec. 15.

In Kentucky’s Derby City, residents might’ve noticed oddly dry weather for this time of year. As a result, many wonder what their autumn will look like with an extreme lack of rain.

If you’re into camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, you should know a few things about this abnormal dry spell.

According to Tom Reauth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, there’s currently an increase in the state’s potential for brush fires. In addition, dry air could alter the color of changing leaves.

Reauth said that September’s rainfall totaled about two inches in neighborhoods near the airport and then “the weather dried out mid-month.” With minimal rainfall comes a slight increase in wildfire risk, Reauth added. In addition, in Western Kentucky, many are feeling the effects of the fall heat.

How Kentucky’s wildfire season affects fall foliage

According to reports, central Kentucky and part of western Kentucky are “abnormally dry,” and the westernmost part of the area is feeling “moderate” drought, per reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Sadly, when there’s less rain, the bright colors we associate with fall come off as more muted. However, don’t count the state’s leaves out yet.

“We’ve been dry, but we haven’t been abnormally dry, so I think we’ll have a good color season still,” Tim Eling said, public affairs officer for the Daniel Boone National Forest. “It depends on how much rain we get during the rest of October.

Eling also said the state has two fire seasons. The first is in the spring right, while the second is in the fall and usually coincides with the season’s first frost.

According to Eling, vegetation loses its leaves, creating fuel for a fire and low humidity, creating ripe conditions for wildfires.

Although many wildfires are caused by humans, according to Eling. According to Eling, you must be careful in the woods to keep your environment safe from wildfires.

Eling said his department spends time in Kentucky’s fall fire season mainly reporting to fires that could’ve been easily prevented. If you start a fire in the woods, ensure the flames are extinguished and the ashes have cooled. If not cooled properly, the ashes could be blown out and ignite a fire.