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BURN BAN IN PLACE

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Grant County fire fighters were glad to see the recent rains.

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During the last four weeks, each of the county’s five fire departments have been busy with grass fires, as many as eight in a two-day time frame.

Williamstown Fire Chief Les Whalen said his department had fought 10 grass fires since the beginning of February.

“That’s way above what we normally have,” he said.

Most of the fires were started by homeowners burning brush or trash, especially on warm, sunny days.
Kentucky’s spring forest fire hazard season began Feb. 15 and continues through April 30.

During this time it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The law is intended to prevent forest fires or even grass fires from spreading out of control by allowing burning only after 6 p.m. when conditions are  less favorable for a wildfire to spread.

Last fall’s dry conditions may also be playing a role in the additional fires.

“It’s also due to the fact that in this economy, people are turning to alternative heat sources,” said Joe Jameson, Dry Ridge’s acting fire chief.

Crittenden Fire Chief Dave Owen said he believes the increased number of grass fires are also because homeowner’s believe with all the snow the area received the ground is wet.

“But what they don’t realize is that the grass on top is dry,” Owen said.

The Jonesville Fire Department was also kept busy backing up other departments.

“We had eight runs in a week and that’s a lot for us,” said Jonesville Chief Chase Duvall.

Kentucky’s Division of Forestry is responsible for enforcing the burn ban, which could cost a $100 to $500 fine. For more information on how to prevent forest fires call 1-800-866-0555 or forestry.ky.gov/Pages/defaul.aspx.

DID YOU KNOW?
From Feb. 15 to April 30 it is illegal to burn within 150 feet of any woodland.
A person can be fined from $100 to $500 per violation.