Kentucky law designates Feb. 15 through April 30 as spring forest fire hazard season. During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The law is intended to prevent forest fires by allowing outdoor burning only after 6 p.m. when conditions are less likely to cause a wildfire to spread.
“Recent snowfall may make for an uneventful start to our fire sea- son; however, the many snow events this winter have caused additional trees and limbs to accumulate on the forest floor and increase the danger for wildfire,” said Leah MacSwords, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF). “Likewise, citizens often burn woody debris and yard waste this time of year, and we want to remind everyone to heed caution and follow all outdoor burning laws in order to lessen the chance of starting a wildfire.”
To help prevent and reduce the risk of wildfire, KDF recommends the following guidelines when burning debris or yard waste:
• Clear a safe zone that is wide enough to prevent the escape of fire.
• Keep a supply of water and a rake or shovel readily accessible.
• Do not leave a fire unattended.
• Burn only when the wind is calm and the humidity level is high.
• Extinguish fire completely if conditions become windy.
• Keep burn piles small to allow quick control of the fire if necessary.
• Locate burn piles an adequate distance from structures and utilities.
• Obey all outdoor burning laws including forest fire laws, air pollution regulations and local ordinances.
Although unsafe debris burning is a significant problem, arson remains the leading cause of wildfi re in Kentucky. To help combat arson, citizens are asked to report any suspicious acts of arson to the nearest Kentucky State Police post or the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.
For more information about fire hazard seasons, outdoor burning laws and safe burning practices, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555 or visit the division’s Web site at http:// www.forestry.ky.gov/.