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Windy and dry conditions lead to burn ban in Rowan County


An open burn ban is in effect in Rowan County. Judge Executive Harry Clark issued the order Monday afternoon in response to drought conditions which led to an increase in wildfires across the state. Most fires are concentrated in southeastern Kentucky, and several are within the Daniel Boone National Forest.

During Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season, which lasts through December 15, it is already illegal to burn between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland. The Judge Executive’s order extends those restrictions to ban any and all open burning at any time of day or night.

“We just want to make sure that we protect the property and the lives and certainly our firefighters that would have to go out and fight the fire in the event we have one,” said Clark.

Governor Andy Beshear announced on Monday that a firefighter, Sargent Thomas A. Petschke Jr. of Oldham County, died following a medical emergency at a wildfire site in Goshen. Over the past two weeks, more than 300 firefighters have been deployed and a state of emergency has been declared.

Though the number of active wildfires in the state halved to 16 from last week’s 31, Clark said there is still a significant risk due to continued drought conditions.

“When we get enough rainfall where it mitigates the potential of a forest fire, we’ll end the burn ban,” said Clark.

Officials said 40 percent of the Commonwealth is currently experiencing drought conditions.