By John L. Ross/Staff Writer
An early evening brush fire Friday south of Barbourville definitely could have been much worse, according to Tony Smith, forest ranger technician with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
Smith said the call came in around 5:30 p.m. Friday night. Members of the East Knox Volunteer Fire Department were first to the blaze on Old Stinking Creek Road in front of an abandoned house next to Auto Glass.
“Whoever did this just walked off and left a burning brush pile,” Smith said. “It could have been a lot worse — it could have burnt the buildings here.”
Emergency firefighters with the Division of Forestry were on hand to watch for smoldering hot spots, and also cleared flammable underbrush to help prevent spreading.
While this fire did little damage, it is fire number 24 in Knox County alone since the fire season started Oct. 1, Smith said.
“The fall fire season runs from October 1 through December 15,” Smith said. “But for this entire year, this fire makes the 49th one for the year just in Knox County.”
And in most cases, Smith said arson was the cause.
“About 85 percent of these fires in this county were arson,” said Smith.
That includes Friday night’s blaze.
“(Fires like this) are included in arson,” he said. “You start one up and you leave it, it’s your baby.”
Smith said there are no indications at this time any of the blazes in Knox County or through this region are connected. “These fires have been random,” said Smith. “Part of it was the start of (deer) hunting season, which was the week before Thanksgiving.
“We got a lot more fires after that.”
He said investigators have suspects in the Corbin arson fire from last week, as well as the Whitley County arson fire that happened near Highway 904. The Whitley County fire scorched more than 300 acres near Alex Creek, Smith said.
Laurel County has had about 25-26 fires this year, Whitley County has had 41 and Bell and Clay counties have each had between 38-40 this year.
He said the high number of fires have kept crews busy and spread thin this year.
Smith said that despite the number of fires, there has been talk in the Kentucky State Legislature about cutting about 30 percent of the Division’s employees. Right now, he said the division he’s with covers 10 counties in southeastern Kentucky. That coverage comes with 11 rangers, two district rangers, one forester serviceman, one chief forester, and 12 8-member firefighting crews.
“It’s going to make a big problem — a huge problem — with fire fighting,” he said.
By John L. Ross/Staff Writer
- Local News
10 arrested for drugs after investigation
Ten people were arrested Thursday following a three-month investigation of illegal drug activity, according to Kentucky State Police Post 11 — London Public Affairs Officer Trooper Lloyd Cochran.
Jury trial May 14 for man in murder case
A man facing murder charges after the December 2012 beating death of a Corinth Community man appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Thursday.
Police Roundup - April 18, 2014
Two parents were charged with child endangerment early Thursday after they walked to Wal-Mart in North Corbin with a toddler, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
Council members approve budget amendment
Barbourville City Council members held the second reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Thursday — with no one there to hear it.
London-Laurel Tourism Commission budget approved
The 2014-2015 budget for the London-Laurel County Tourism Commission was approved at Tuesday’s meeting, according to Co-Director Kim Collier.
London-Laurel Chamber holds monthly meeting
The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting Thursday afternoon at the Jackson Energy Cooperative Community Room.
Budget amendment gets first read
Barbourville City Council members held the first reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Wednesday.
Community garden meeting coming April 25
Some folks in Knox County are looking at bringing some green space to Barbourville, and they need some help. But first, they’ll have an informational meeting on the community garden project next Friday, April 25.
Crash on Wyan Road seriously injures two
Two men remain in a Lexington hospital with serious injuries Wednesday, after they were involved in a one-car crash west of London Tuesday evening.
Public meeting at Goldbug Vol. Fire and Rescue Dept.
A public meeting is slated for 8 p.m. tonight at Goldbug Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, located at 869 Highway 26, Williamsburg.
- More Local News Headlines
- 10 arrested for drugs after investigation