Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

October 4, 2012

It's fire season

Spring storms, arid summer increase the need for caution

ASHLAND — The fall forest fire season began Monday, and area residents have added reason to obey the law restricting outdoor burning during the season that continues until Dec. 15 and to listen to and heed the advice of the experts at the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

It has been an extremely hot and dry summer, making forest lands even more primed for fires than usual. In addition, the strong spring storms and tornadoes that ripped through the region brought down numerous trees and limbs that have left Kentucky’s forests littered with fuel for wildfires.

Kentucky’s chief forester, Leah MacSwords, said the accumulation of storm-damaged trees and smaller tinder that died as a result of drought will lead to an “active” fire season and pose dangers for firefighters.

MacSwords urged Kentuckians to take extra precautions with campfires. She also called for them to keep on the lookout for forest arson, the major cause of wildfires in Kentucky. In fact, the Division of Forestry reports that of the 723 forestland and brushland fires recorded in Kentucky through Sept. 25 of this year,  448 — or just less than 62 percent — were set by arsonists.  Unfortunately, that is nothing new. Arson has long been the major cause of forest fires in the state.

During the fall fire season, it is illegal to burn anything  within 150 feet of a woodland or brushland between the mostly daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. But because of the volatile condition of the forestlands, the Division of Forestry recommends individuals go beyond just obeying the law by using good common sense and sound judgment while dealing with potential sources of fire when outdoors.

Their recommendations include:

--Avoid burning anything during fire hazard alerts and during times of dry, windy conditions.

--Extinguish all fires completely.  Never leave a fire unattended and always extinguish fires if conditions become too windy. 

--Allow hot ashes from woodstoves and fireplaces to cool before disposing outdoors. 

--Extinguish smoking materials properly.  Put out cigarettes, cigars or pipes only in cleared areas free of vegetation or flammable material. A burning cigarette  carelessly tossed from a vehicle can easily start a roadside fire that can quickly spread.

--Avoid parking cars, trucks or recreational vehicles on dry vegetation. The exhaust system on a vehicle can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees, which is hot enough to start a wildfire.

Rain that fell throughout the region from Sunday afternoon through mid-morning Monday greatly reduced the risk of fire during the opening days of this fire season, but while Mother Nature is the best defense against forest fires, she is not always dependable. Be smart when working outside. Following the above recommendations can greatly reduced the odds of a fire occurring. 

And should you suspect or witness someone setting a fire, call the nearest Kentucky State Police post or call the Target Arson Hotline at (800) 27-ARSON. More arrests and convictions for setting forest and brush fires is the best way of reducing the unacceptably high rate of arson.

Forest and brush fires not only put black marks on nature’s beauty, they also increase air pollution and make it that much more difficult for those with respiratory problems to breathe. We have no sympathy for those who intentionally set the fires.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning this fall on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014