In conjunction with federal and state land
management agencies, the National
Weather Service in Jackson, Kentucky
is participating in the Fire Prevention
Awareness Week from October 6th through
the 12th. During the week, different topics
concerning fire weather and fire prevention
will be discussed, which will educate
and increase the awareness of fire weather
and fire safety.
Fire Weather/Fire Prevention Awareness Week
continues today with a look at drought and
its effects on wildfires.
Climatic conditions, such as long term drought, play a major role
in the number and intensity of wildfires. The lack of rainfall, in
conjunction with very warm temperatures, allows wildland vegetation,
such as dead leaves, trees and branches, to become unusually dry.
The dry vegetation is very susceptible to the potential for fire,
especially when daytime relative humidities are low and winds speeds
The fall of 2010 was drier than normal across much of the region,
though drought conditions were much worse in Central and Western
Kentucky where large portions of those regions of the state were in
moderate to severe drought conditions for several weeks. During
2010, 1,830 wildfires were reported across the Commonwealth with
54,593 acres burned, or the highest acres burned total since 2001.
After the relatively dry months of June and August 2012 combined with
the relatively wet months of July and September 2012, rainfall for the year
to date has been near normal across most of Eastern Kentucky. Portions
of the Kentucky and the Red River basins as well as the Laurel Lake and
Lake Cumberland regions have received rainfall averaging 4 to 6 inches
below normal so far this year.
Current trends and long range outlooks indicate that temperatures
should average above normal for the remainder of October with equal
chances of above normal, normal, or below normal precipitation. The long
range outlook for the three month October through December 2013 period,
issued by the Climate Prediction Center, indicates that there are equal
chances of above normal, normal, or below normal temperatures and
precipitation across Eastern Kentucky.
Since the long range forecast indicates that normal or below normal
precipitation could occur during the fall fire weather season, it is
important to be alert to the increased threat of wildfires during drought
conditions and short-lived dry periods, especially for those whose
homes are in forested areas, or those who plan to visit area forests.
The following are some safety tips to help protect life and property
1. Check with your local county judge executive/s office or local, state
or federal fire authorities to obtain current fire restriction
2. Clear campfire sites down to bare soil. Circle the fire pit with
rocks, and build the campfire away from overhanging branches, dry
grass or leaves, pine needles, logs and steep slopes.
3. Never leave a camp fire unattended. When putting out a campfire,
douse the fire thoroughly with water, stir the ashes and douse
it again. Keep a bucket and shovel nearby.
4. Homes near forested areas should have trees and shrubs thinned at least
30 feet from buildings. Remove lower tree branches, especially those
that may overhang the roof.
5. Rake and clear surface fuels, such as leaves, limbs and pine
needles, away from homes in wooded areas. For detailed
information on protecting your home from wildfires, visit the
The next topic during Fire Weather/Fire Prevention Awareness Week will
be, Red Flag Warning an extreme fire weather condition.
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