By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
It was a late night Monday for Corbin resident Charlotte Standifer. She, along with her kids Steven and Waylon Standifer, set up guard in the backyard of their Bacon Creek Road home near Exit 25 of I-75 and watched a brush fire burn its way down the mountain. She lives there with her husband, Billy Standifer.
At press time, the fire raged approximately 50 feet from their property line and approximately 350-450 feet from their home.
It could also be seen from I-75.
“I went out to check the dog,” Mrs. Standifer said. “And there were ashes falling everywhere.”
She said she then contacted a neighbor. “I called them to find out what was going on, and they ended up calling 9-1-1.”
Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department personnel dotted the Standifers’ driveway, ready to help protect the home if the fire spread farther down the mountain.
Looking at the blaze from the top of the mountain behind the Standifer home, it appeared the fire was burning about a foot a minute.
Battalion Chief Donnie Hart said the department was dispatched to the scene between 6:30-7 p.m. Monday. “The (Kentucky Forestry Division) is helping us with this fire,” he said.
At press time, Hart said crews were on top of the mountain battling the blaze. “They’re cutting a ring around the fire,” he said. “And the forestry service is bringing a (bull)dozer in.”
While the fire remains under investigation, Hart said he had heard the fire began during a controlled burn, but added he did not know the official cause of Monday’s blaze. As to the cause being arson, Hart said “We just don’t know yet.”
Mrs. Standifer said she plans to keep vigil until the fire is under control, but she’s ready to leave if she has to evacuate. “I don’t want to leave,” she said nervously. “But what else can I do?”
According to a current Wildland Fire Report of the Kentucky Forestry Division, as of Sunday, 83 fires were burning across the state. The reporting period for that report is Nov. 21-25. So far in 2012, 1,135 fires have been reported, with 745 of those being caused through arson. The report lists fires occurred this year in Whitley and Knox counties, but Laurel County was not listed.