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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Wildland Fire in Kentucky

Division of Forestry
Wildland Fire Management

Current Wildland Fire Activity
To view an up-to-date report of fire activity, year-to-date statistics and county burn bans, please click on the link below.  The Wildland Fire Activity Report is updated daily throughout fire hazard season and periodically throughout the year.

Current Wildland Fire Activity Report


Wildland Fire Hazard Seasons and Enforcement
Potato Knob Fire sunsetThe Division of Forestry is responsible for fighting wildland fires on private lands and enforcing forest fire hazard seasons and other outdoor burning regulations.  During forest fire hazard season, it is illegal to burn between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland.  The season dates are as follows:

Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season: Feb. 15 through April 30
Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season: Oct. 1 though Dec. 15

Wildland Fire Suppression Efforts
Wildland fires have been occurring in Kentucky for thousands of years.  Native Americans used fire to clear land for wildlife and early settlers adopted these same land-clearing techniques.  Unfortunately, these fires began to threaten homes and communities prompting the need to suppress wildfires and establish forest protection laws. The first forest protection laws were enacted in 1831 in a few specific counties with heavily wooded areas.  The fine and penalty for setting a fire was $20.  Today, Kentucky's forest protection laws include much stiffer penalties for intentionally setting a fire on land owned by another (KRS 149.380).  The penalties for violating KRS 149.380 include a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $10,000, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both fine and imprisonment. 

Although the Division of Forestry is the lead agency in fighting wildfires on private lands, there is no one agency that can fight all the wildland fires in Kentucky.  Oftentimes, wildfire suppression may involve a number of different agencies as well as rural and city fire departments.  On larger fires or during times of extreme fire activity, agencies will work together under the Incident Command System to fight fires.  Resource mobilization for larger fires originate at the Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center
Link to Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center for information about safety practices and training recommendations for the wildland fire community. 

Wildland Fire Historical Statistics
Kentucky and Regional Fires for 2013
Kentucky Fire Summary 1960 - 2013
10-Year Summary of Number of Fires and Acres Burned
10-Year Summary of Wildfire Causes
State Wildfire Charts 2009 - 2013

Wildland Fire Links
The following links provide additional information about wildland fire management:

Daniel Boone National Forest - Fire Management
Fire Danger Class Map
Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center
Kentucky Prescribed Fire Council
National Fire Protection Association
National Interagency Fire Center 
National Weather Service Fire Weather
National Wildfire Coordinating Group
Southern Wildfire Prevention
USDA Fire and Aviation
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned
Wildland Fire Assessment System