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November 19, 2013

Fall fire season underway

Crews respond to reports of hay field blazes

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department crews rushed to reports of a hay field on fire Monday afternoon — and just before trucks with the department arrived the flames were under control.

But it could have been worse.

That fire was in an overgrown field filled with the decaying husks of summer weeds, and a small fire fueled by Monday’s steady breeze could have fanned the flames toward several neighboring homes.

The field in question is along Bee Creek Road in Whitley County, across the street from Frankfort Baptist Church.

No injuries were reported in the mid-afternoon fire.

The annual Fall Fire Season for the state of Kentucky began Oct. 1 and continues through Dec. 15.

According to the Kentucky Division of Forestry website, during 2012, more than 1,200 fires were reported across the state of Kentucky, which scorched nearly 33,000 acres. The average fire consumed approximately 27 acres.

That same website states that arson leads as the cause of Kentucky’s forest fires. “Ninety-nine percent of all wildland fires in Kentucky are caused by humans,” it states. “Some fires are accidental like unmonitored debris burning, campfires and sparks from farm equipment, but…many are intentionally set.”

The percentage is high, the website states.

“Nearly 60 percent of all wildfires in Kentucky are caused by arsonists,” it states. “These fires damage more than just forestland. They threaten homes, businesses and lives.”

According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, setting fire to land or property owned by another person rot entity is illegal.

KRS 149.380 states, “No person shall: 1)Willfully, maliciously, or wantonly set on fire or cause or procure to be set on fire any timberland, or flammable material on such land, which land is not owned, leased or controlled by him. 2)Willfully, maliciously, or wantonly allow a fire to escape from his land and burn the land or property of another. 3)Willfully, maliciously, or wantonly set, throw or place any device, instrument or paraphernalia in or adjacent to any timberland with intent to set fire to such land, or which in the natural course of events would result in fire being set to such timberland.”

The KDF website states those caught violating this statute could face a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both fine and imprisonment.

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