Spring fire season is in effect

At certain times a year, more than others, forest fires become a very serious threat. The blaze that severely devastated parts of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 2016 prove how damaging they can be — and very quickly. Two fire seasons happen a year, one in spring and one during the fall.

The spring fire season in Kentucky begins in mid-February and extends through the month of April. Determining a fire hazard is done by measuring the “fuel moisture” in an area and local weather patterns that encompass temperature, relative humidity and prevailing winds. If these things are observed and a potential hazard is determined. a restriction is put into effect. When a restriction is put into effect campfires and charcoal BBQs are only allowed in designated campground areas. Gas stoves and lanterns can be used, however.

Fire restriction signs will be posted, and they should always be heeded. When it comes to outdoor burning in a person’s yard or on their property, the county you reside in may ban the activity if conditions are determined to be severe enough. The list of things banned from outdoor burns include the burning of forest, grass, crops, woodlands, marshlands and other similar areas, household debris/trash, open pit cooking or charcoal grilling, campfires, bonfires and warming fires, using fireworks and welding in the area. If any of these restrictions are ignored, it is punishable by law. When burns are prohibited, use alternatives means to get rid of your refuse, such as taking it to the local dump or curbside pickup.

According to information at usda.gov, yard burns are the biggest cause of wildfires.

For more information on forest fires, restrictions and alternative means for yard burns and camping, visit www.forestry.ky.gov or www.air.ky.gov.