Fayette County joined 23 other Kentucky counties Friday by declaring a ban on open burning because of dry conditions.
Meanwhile, visitors to the Daniel Boone National Forest were advised to use extreme caution with fire due to the same dry conditions.
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Since June 1, the region has received 10 inches of rain — more than 6 inches below average. The area is currently in mild drought, but will almost surely slip to moderate drought next week.
Any burn permits that have been issued in Fayette County are suspended as of Friday.
The ban prohibits all outdoor open burning until the region receives significant rainfall.
Many people don't realize it, but 70 percent of Fayette County is open land, said Lexington Fire Marshal James Branham. "We have a lot of big, open farms with dry grass."
Burning is allowed in outdoor fireplaces and fire pits on concrete patios or pavers away from anything combustible, he said.
"Use common sense," Bran ham said. "The conditions are pretty dry right now and we're getting a lot of wind kicking up."
The public should consider the risk of campfires when camping in the Daniel Boone National Forest, especially in the back country.
During the week of Sept. 19 through 25, 37 counties in Kentucky reported that 62 fires burned 1,153 acres of land, according to the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
The current fire danger is at high to extreme level for southern and Eastern Kentucky.
Campfires are still permitted on the Daniel Boone National Forest, but a burning ban may be implemented as early as next week unless significant rainfall occurs. Instead of campfires, camp stoves or grills are recommended for cooking when camping during dry weather periods.
Anyone caught leaving or abandoning a campfire without extinguishing it will be subject to a fine. Any individual allowing a campfire to get out of control, resulting in a wildfire, will be subject to a mandatory court appearance and could be held liable for the cost of controlling it.