Wildlife officials prepare for Spring wildfire hazard season
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Spring wildfire hazard season began February 15 in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Forestry Division says they’ve responded to over 100 wildland fires in just the first two months of 2023. While some of these fires were caused by accidents, like downed wires, the Division’s Senior Environmental Consultant Steven Kull, says a majority arose from unsafe fire practices.
“People are burning debris, trash, things outdoors, burning off garden signs, various things and the fire is escaping from that,” Kull said. “Or there are individuals out there that just light it for whatever reason.”
Kull says spring weather conditions create an unfortunately great environment for wildfires.
“You get sun and wind. We have no leaves on the trees yet, so the wind is able to get into the forest floor where all the fuel is and dry it out quicker,” Kull said. “Then accidental or even intentional fires are likely to start and spread.”
Mammoth Cave National Park has begun taking preparations to help stop wildfires, as they prepare for their camping season. Public Information Officer Molly Schroer says rangers have begun clearing fire pits around their campgrounds, and are even preparing to fight fire with fire.
“We’ll come through and actually burn an area intentionally to reduce that litter, to reduce the excess limbs and downed wood,” Schroer said. “So, if a fire were to start, it wouldn’t get as big and out of control as a wildfire.”
Schroer also took the time to share some of her tips for fire safety while camping.
“Never leave your fire unattended, you should have a bucket of water close by just in case something sparks you can put that out,” Schroer said. “Don’t make your fire too high, don’t throw so much wood in there that it’s so big that it’s never going to go out.”
To help in the prevention of wildfires, outdoor burning in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., will be illegal until April 30 per the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
More information on wildfire prevention can be found on the National Fire Protection association website.
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