LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Kentucky Revised Statute 149.400 deals with Fire Hazard Seasons and states that during the two fire hazard seasons: “It shall be unlawful for any person to set fire to, or to procure another to set fire to, any flammable material capable of spreading fire, located in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., prevailing local time, or when the ground is covered with snow.”
The exceptions to the burning law does not apply if the fire is set for burning plant beds. It also exempts “competent and qualified employees of railroad, utility, or pipeline companies in connection with the construction, operation, or maintenance of railroads, pipelines, powerlines, or other projects in the public interest right-of-way.” Government employees authorized to burn on government land are also exempt from the burning rule.
This time of year, pine needles and similar foliage are extremely susceptible to fires, as they naturally lose moisture the fastest.
County burn bans are issued by the county judge executive and enforced with the assistance of the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
Burn bans tend to target the following:
• Burning of forest, grass, crops woodlands, marshes or other similar areas.
• Burning leaves or debris.
• Campfires, bonfires and warming fires.
• Open pit cooking and charcoal grilling.
• Use of fireworks and in some cases welding.
The Kentucky Division of Forestry can cite persons for burning illegally — a charge that can carry up to $500 fine and a year in jail, or both. Someone charged with intentionally setting or having fire set to someone else’s property can face a fine ranging from between $1,000 and $10,000 and up to five years imprisonment.