Kentucky was hot; now it's bothered.
A late summer drought has extended into fall, and that's causing headaches for fire departments as they fight blazes across the state.
On Thursday, 42 wildland fires in 31 counties were reported by the state Division of Forestry. Those fires burned an estimated 1,450 acres.
One fire burned 215 acres Thursday near Sonora on the Hardin-LaRue County line, and another burned 250 acres on the Fort Knox military reservation in Bullitt County, said Lynn True, information officer for the state Division of Forestry. Both fires were under control Friday.
Lexington firefighters spent about 15 hours Thursday and Friday dousing and monitoring a burning yard waste pile at the Haley Pike landfill on Hedger Lane, off Rockwell Road in eastern Fayette County near the Clark County line.
The area takes limbs, brush and other yard waste, and the material began burning shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday. Normally a fire would be extinguished by pumping water from a nearby pond, but it was too dry for that purpose, said Mark York, a spokesman for the city's Division of Environmental Quality. Firefighters were on the scene until 9 a.m. Friday.
Another hot spot on Friday was in Rockcastle County, where 15 fires were reported between midnight and 2 p.m.
Brodhead Fire Chief Larry Taylor said most of the fires his department fought in recent days were due to people burning trash. Those blazes can easily get out of control with a little wind.
"It doesn't take but a minute and it's gone," Taylor said.
As a result, Rockcastle County Judge-Executive Buzz Carloftis issued a 24-7 burn ban on Friday. Rockcastle is among 64 counties that have issued bans stronger than the typical fire-season ban that calls for no outdoor burning from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In the Daniel Boone National Forest, 11 fires have burned 108 acres since Oct. 1, said Jim Funk, information officer for the U.S. Forest Service. That's about normal for this time of year, he said.
The biggest fire burned about 60 acres in the Red River Gorge. It continues to re ignite as leaves fall, said public affairs officer Marie Walker.
Precipitation totals have been running well below normal from Western Kentucky through the Ohio River Valley, said Stuart Foster, the state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University.
"Drought conditions have intensified greatly from September and into October," Foster said.
Municipal water supplies are holding up despite the drought.
Heavy rainfall in the spring and early summer filled reservoirs and major river basins, and that helped supplement the availability of water cross Central Kentucky.
In addition, "The demand for water here in October is not what we would have in July," Foster said.
The combination of ongoing drought conditions, low humidity and increasing wind will elevate the wildfire risk on Saturday, the National Weather Service in Louisville said.
Dry conditions will continue with partly sunny skies on Saturday and temperatures in the upper 70s. Sunday will be partly cloudy with wind and a high temperature in the high 70s to low 80s.
The best chances for rain are early next week, when scattered thunderstorms are forecast for Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures those days will be in the mid-70s.