Spring forest fire season in Kentucky starts Saturday and runs through the end of April

As the weather warms up in late February and early March, humidity is normally very low. Without the benefit of shade from forest trees, the early spring leaf litter before leaves come out on trees becomes dry and warm. High, blustery winds are also frequently a part of early spring weather.

During this period it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The law is intended to prevent forest fires by allowing outdoor burning only after 6 p.m. when conditions are less likely to cause a wildfire to spread.

Weather alone almost never starts a fire in Kentucky. Natural fire from lightning strikes constitute an estimated 0.4% of the fires that occur, according to 10-year figures from 2007 to 2016. Fires almost always can be attributed to human causes such as arson (65%), escaped campfires (0.8%) and debris burning (21.9%).

During that 10 years, there were 13,188 wildfires that burned 393,014 acres, an area more than twice the size of Lyon County.