Due to current drought conditions, management officials have issued emergency orders concerning visitors’ use of fire in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Beginning June 27, campfires, charcoal grills, candles and open-flame torches are prohibited outside of developed recreation areas on national forest lands. Fires are allowed in developed sites within Forest Service designated fire rings constructed of metal or concrete.
Portable lanterns and stoves that use gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are permitted, which allows for the use of tabletop and backpack stoves that are popular with many campers and hikers.
A separate order prohibits “possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device” anywhere on national forest lands of the Daniel Boone.
“When considering the current drought conditions and the extended forecast with little to no rain in sight, these orders were issued to help ensure public safety and reduce the chance for wildfires,” said Deputy Forest Supervisor Bill Lorenz.
“The fire bans are needed as an added safeguard for our visitors, employees, neighbors, and adjacent property.”
Forest Service fire managers closely monitor the potential for wildfire during extended periods of dry weather. Weather data and computer models are used to determine fire risks. The current indicators show high fire danger for this time of year.
“The lack of rain and high temperatures has caused the forest ground fuels to become extremely dry over the past few weeks,” added Lorenz.
“Over the past several years, some of the most damaging wildfires affecting our natural resources have occurred during drought conditions. These fires started from escaped campfires or campers using fireworks or candles.”
In Kentucky, the official fire hazard seasons run from February 15 - April 30 and October 1 - December 15. Wildfires in Kentucky rarely occur outside of these timeframes unless drought conditions are in progress.
Inside the developed recreation areas where campfires are allowed, officials recommend that campfires be kept to a minimum and contained in designated fire rings or grills within developed recreation areas.
Any individual caught violating the campfire or fireworks ban on national forest lands will be issued a minimum $300 fine. Individuals or groups responsible for causing a wildfire may also be held liable for suppression costs, which can become extensive once firefighters and heavy equipment are needed.
The commercial firework displays that are scheduled to occur at Laurel River Lake and Cave Run Lake for the Fourth of July are exempted from the emergency order banning fireworks in the national forest.