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Eastern Kentucky emergency management officials stay prepared for fall wildfires

Jarred Moore

October is the start of wildfire season in Kentucky and Rowan officials report the county is prepared for potential fires this fall. For many people, recent wildfires in Maui highlighted infrastructure issues and power outages that made fighting the fires difficult.

Jarred Moore is the Rowan County Emergency Management Director. Moore said for the most part, water is not used in fighting forest or wildfires.

“As far as other than right around a home, we don’t really use much water. It’s manual, back-breaking labor. Chainsaws, rakes. Oh yeah, it’s just manual labor. There’s not much water to be used, really,” said Moore.

Moore said the department has a full emergency operations plan for the county. It covers both manmade and natural disasters.

“Wildland fire is one of those subsections of our emergency operations plan, and it basically covers what to do whenever the first threat of the wildfire occurs, who our mutual aid agencies are, and things like that,” said Moore.

Moore added in the event of a power outage caused by wildfires, large mobile generators can be deployed to water pump sites to keep drinking water infrastructure functioning.

Wildfire season also brings with it the risk of loose forest brush fires spreading to houses, resulting in a house fire. Moore said it is a good idea to keep at least 50 feet around your home free of leaves and sticks to create a buffer zone.

“If you were to be close to a fire that is burning and approaching in on your home, it will run out of fuel because all of the leaves are taken care of and gone,” said Moore.

Until December 15, Kentucky is under a burn restriction that states fires cannot be started within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland unless it is during the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. All fires should be attended until fully extinguished.