FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2016) – In response to numerous wildland fires burning throughout the Commonwealth, Gov. Matt Bevin today declared a statewide emergency, effective November 3, 2016 to provide local and state officials immediate access to state resources.
Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in support of the Kentucky Division of Forestry to provide situational awareness and command and control for state assets as requested by Forestry and by our county officials and first responders in the 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.”
“It is imperative that we support our first responders as they combat wildfires throughout the state," said Dossett. "By virtue of the executive order, allied state agencies are now able to provide resources that are beyond local government capabilities.”
Kentucky Division of Forestry reports 38 active fires through Kentucky that have burned 3,800 acres. Harlan County alone reports five fires and has requested state assistance, to include air support for fire suppressant.
Harlan County Judge Executive Dan Mosley stated, “I appreciate the State’s help in this situation. Our crews have been fighting this battle for several days. Their assistance will expedite our efforts.”
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.