Kentucky governor declares state of emergency in response to wildfires

blazing-fire

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WATE) – Governor Matt Bevin has declared a statewide emergency because of several wildfires burning throughout Kentucky.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said he has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to help the Kentucky Division of Forestry in impacted counties.

“My primary concern is safety. By declaring a state emergency we are providing emergency resources to proactively respond to local needs. I thank all of the officials working hard to keep people safe,” said Gov. Bevin. “As dry conditions remain throughout Kentucky, we urge all citizens to use extreme caution during outdoor activities and refrain from outdoor burning.”

Kentucky Division of Forestry reports 38 active fires through Kentucky that have burned 3,800 acres. Harlan County has five fires and has requested state assistance, including air support for fire suppressant.

Department for Natural Resources Commissioner Allen Luttrell said employees with the divisions of Mine Safety and Mine Reclamation are working with the Division of Forestry to aid in the fire suppression effort.

“We are moving fire crews and strategically deploying department employees to bring every resource to bear on these fires,” Commissioner Luttrell said. “We ask the public’s help by observing any local burning bans.”

At this time there have been no reports of injuries, evacuations or house fires associated with the wildland fires. State officials are also monitoring social media and will use #KyWildfires to distribute updates.

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