Rain's Impact on Fall Fire Season

Sep 12, 2011

‘Dreary’ might sum up last week’s weather in most Kentucky communities.  However, the ongoing drizzle didn’t necessarily put a damper on the upcoming fall fire season.  Kentucky’s forest land can dry up rapidly, particularly when fallen leaves are added into the mix.  The two to, in some cases, four inches of rain which fell on parts of the Daniel Boone National Forest eased fire threats for now.  But,   Assistant Fire Management Officer E-J Bunzendahl  says a couple of weeks of dry weather can renew the risk of fire.  Although poorly extinguished campfires account for about ten percent of wildfires, Bunzendahl says the rate’s higher in the Red River Gorge.

“A lot of the places that people camp, especially in the Red River Gorge are up on high ridges, which are dryer than normal and receive more wind than other places where people camp,” said Bunzendahl.

It won’t be long until the colors of fall come along across the commonwealth.  Then, it won’t be too long until the leaves fall from the trees.  Bunzendahl says that can be an especially high risk time in the forest.

“That very first part of fall when all the leaves come down and they’re still thick, that can create especially intense fire behavior,” added Bunzendahl.

The official fall fire season gets underway October first and runs into December.  During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between six a-m and six p-m.