HARTFORD, Ky. (WEHT) As the Tri-State continues to see a lack of rain, more counties across the region have burn bans in place.
Six western Kentucky counties, including Hopkins and Union, have them. Perry County is the only southwest Indiana county with a similar ban. Ohio County became one of the latest counties to issue one.
“We’ve been a long time without rain,” says Judge Executive David Johnston.
Little rain can mean more risk for large outdoor fires.
“When the wind picks up, and ember blows away, an ember can travel certain distance and catch a field on fire somewhere else, which can endanger woods or someone’s property or home,” says Beaver Dam Fire Dept. Chief David Stevens.
Ohio County’s burn ban was issued Monday because of dry conditions and a lower water table. Johnston says it’s the first all day ban since 2011, when conditions were similar.
“Only difference is there have been some serious fires already. This time, we didn’t want to wait until that happened,” he said.
Chief Stevens says the region sees more higher winds this time of year and, combined with dry conditions, can spread fires faster.
“With the drier conditions as quick as the fire will burn and spread, the wind will help with that. With the conditions that we’re in, we really need to watch what we’re doing,” he says.
The amount of rain needed for a ban to be lifted is undetermined.
“Sometimes, 2 inches of rain would be enough, sometimes rain for a week would be enough, it may only equal a half inch. You just want, the ground soaks up so much of the water so fast, that everything is still dry. We just want to get back to that good moisture point,” Chief Stevens says.
Johnston also says the burn ban could affect farmers since they won’t be able to burn fields after they’re harvested until the ban is lifted.
(This story was originally published on September 24, 2019)