Tunnel Ridge Road and several trails in the Red River Gorge have been temporarily shut down because of a wildfire that started Monday, according to the state Forest Service.
The blaze, being referred to as the Woodland fire, had burned more than 90 acres of national forest land byTuesday morning and was expected to burn as much as 300 acres before being contained, according to the Forest Service.
Visitors are prohibited from entering or being on Tunnel Ridge Road past the Grays Arch trail parking area, according to the Forest Service. National forest lands are closed south of Tunnel Ridge Road, west of Sheltowee Trace Trail 100, north of the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway and east of nearby private lands. The closing prohibits foot and vehicle traffic in the area.
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A fire restriction order is in place for the Daniel Boone National Forest, prohibiting any campfire or open flame outside designated recreation areas, according to the Forest Service. Fire is permitted only at the Koomer Ridge Campground and in three picnic areas. In the designated recreational areas, fire is allowed in an existing fire ring or a pedestal grill installed by the Forest Service.
Anyone who starts an illegal campfire in the area can face a $300 fine, and any person or group found responsible for a wildfire can be held liable for fire-suppression costs, according to the Forest Service. Those costs can include the costs of firefighters and heavy equipment.
Anyone found responsible for causing a wildfire also can be charged with wanton endangerment if firefighters or public safety personnel are put at risk, according to the Forest Service.
Gov. Matt Bevin declared a state of emergency Thursday as crews worked to contain more than 30 fires reported by the Kentucky Division of Forestry across Eastern Kentucky. Over the weekend, the Kentucky National Guard said its helicopters had dropped more than 120,000 gallons of water on the fires.
There are 62 counties with active burn bans, according to the Kentucky Division of Forestry website.